Speaking in Tongues

Ganesh Anandan
Malcolm Goldstein
Rainer Wiens

Ambiance Magnetiques AM 118 CD

If you thought that avant-garde
post-jazz improvisation had vanished forever, think again. Practitioners of the art have always needed to have at their fingertips a combination of incredible virtuosity, an innate grasp of musical form and the ability to listen analytically, even when wailing away on an instrument. In the past, some players revealed their weaknesses in this kind of exercise. But if anyone possesses such magic these days, Weins, Goldstein and Anandan have it, as evidenced on this new CD.

The metallic combinations of the solo violin linked with guitar at times remind one of King Crimson in their Lark1s Tongue in Aspic era, particularly in Ra Ma. However, this Montreal-based trio strives for more stratospheric heights than anything we heard in 1973. Of the most effective pieces, Fra Ma Ga Ra includes saxophonist Frank Lozano. Anandan1s gentle kalimba leads us into an oasis of peace on the last track, Lullaby.

Ambiances Magnetiques persist in publishing discs in cardboard tri-fold sleeves, for reasons unclear. They1re easily bent or mangled if you pop them in pocket or purse. Nonetheless, it gives the designer a big area to work in. But the photo has the musicians posing stiffly, bundled in winter overcoats with instrument cases slung about them. Surely it would have been more interesting to show us a glimpse of the session itself, with musicians in the white heat of improvisation. Nevertheless, this is a remarkable disc.

John Gray