Queen Mab Trio
This is a fabulous trio of two Canadians and one Amsterdam native (Henneman). Made up mostly of carefully composed pieces that shift textures and feature intricate group interplay, "Thin Air" is a great example of how many musical situations are possible with only three creative musicians. At times Henneman's viola and Freedman's bass clarinet sound like the same instrument engaged in an echoing, cyclical dialogue. The lead changes constantly throughout the pieces so that the listener may be focused on Freedman's clarinet, then find themselves listening closely to Lerner, without realizing that a transition happened.
PICKS OF THE WEEK FOR JANUARY 29, 2007
Chicago Sound Radio WNU
Since first checking out the Queen Mab (duo w/ Marilyn & Lori) at Victo, both Lori Freedman and Marilyn Lerner have kept pretty busy with a variety of projects, both solo and in small groups. The equally ambitious Ms. Ig Henneman runs the Wig label with her mate Ab Baars, recently passing the dozen mark of releases.
"Thin Air" is loosely based on the "Queen Mab Scherzo" from Hector Berloiz's "Romeo and Juliet", with all three women contributing compositions and improvisations. On the title track, the clarinet and viola work in a similar tonal range as Marilyn cautiously works inside the piano and places objects on the strings. "Vehement" is aptly titled as it is an intense, tight piece with quick, complex lines intersecting each other. Boisterous bass clarinet, spiraling viola and stark, dark piano weave together most impressively. The composing on the piece "Drums and Trumpets" (by Ms. Henneman) is most impressive as it makes Lori almost speak through her bass clarinet, reaching out most expressively. Lori's "Hersenspinsels" is a fascinating work that is both playful and kaleidoscopic in the way it shifts through some complex sections. On Ig's "Fluette et Legere", it is Marilyn's grand piano that is the most startling part of the trio. Each piece on this marvelous disc is a thoughtful and provocative work, endlessly fascinating in many ways.
Downtown Music Gallery NY February 17 2007
Bruce Lee Gallanter
(…) As the longstanding duo Queen Mab, bass clarinetist Lori Freedman and pianist Marilyn Lerner have developed an unique rapport that is both rigorous and nurturing. They hold each other’s feet to the fire in their exacting ensembles, but there is also the palpable sense that they have each other’s back when they go out on a limb in an improvisation. It’s a very specific chemistry that Henneman supplements rather than disrupts, even when the two Canadians are at their most explosive, an occasional occurrence over the course of this scintillating album.
Bill Shoemaker www.pointofdeparture.org Issue 9 - January 2007
Point of Departure: an online music journal
(…) Il primo brano, a firma congiunta, è probabilmente ampiamente improvvisato, ma certi intervalli di altezze, certe spaziature suonano quasi come un'ironica parodia del versante più meditativo della musica contemporanea dei decenni passati. A tratti si può ricevere la stessa impressione dai brani successivi, scritti dall'una o dall'altra delle tre autrici, che si dimostrano legate non solo da sensibilità e intenzioni comuni, ma anche da un buon affiatamento nell'affrontare l'interplay.
(…) La parabola narrativa, avventurosa e allusiva, di impronta cameristica, rende il CD originale e interessante, ma probabilmente è dal vivo che la situazione diviene più coinvolgente, permettendo di cogliere appieno quel mix imprevedibile di ironia e rigore, di misura ed eccentricità che caratterizza questa musica.
Libero Farnè Allaboutjazzitaly 29-12-2006
(…) Dat klassieke uitgangspunten voldoende materiaal opleveren tot improvisatie bewijzen de drie dames al zo’n vijf jaar, en dit is hun tweede cd. De composities die ‘Thin Air’ uitmaken, zijn losjes gebaseerd op het Queen Mab-scherzo uit ‘Romeo et Juliette’ van Hector Berlioz. Een uitstekende keuze, want net als het werk van de Franse romanticus kent de muziek van het transcontinentale trio een grote voorliefde voor extreme dynamiek en dramatiek. Voeg daarbij het prachtige donkere klankkleurenpalet, en het is duidelijk waarom de Nederlandse en de twee Canadezen de landsbarrières opzij zetten voor een langdurig samenwerkingsverband.
Herman te Loo Jazzflits 20 24-12-2006