The CD in question then, is a trio improvisation recorded in Argentina back in 2008 by the trio of Tetuzi Akiyama, (acoustic guitar) Eden Carrasco (alto sax) and Leonel Kaplan (trumpet). The album consists of one thirty-three minute long improvisation and revels in the beautiful title Moments of Falling Petals. Before mentioning the music I should bring attention to the lovingly formed packaging, a great little pen drawing printed on thick art paper that is then folded up in such an extravagant origami formation that I’m not sure I’ll be able to put the disc away once I’ve finished with it this evening.
So musically, this piece sounds pretty much how I expected it to, Akiyama picking out a spacious, fragmented blues-type smattering of clear notes over Kaplan and Carrasco’s more muted, earthy backdrops. As predictable as it may be though, it is still really rather lovely. The sax and trumpet stay mostly in an area somewhere between breathy hisses and low growls, occasionally breaking out into louder passages of the same kind of thing, but retaining the reduced palette throughout. Akiyama’s playing then is very beautiful, indeed like falling petals his notes feel fragile and exposed out the front, like the first solid lines painted into a watercolour sketch after the bases washes have been perfected. The rhythmic element that often creeps into Akiyama’s playing is missing here though, which pleases me quite a bit, and so there is a forlorn, almost vulnerable feel to the guitar that harks back to his early CDs and yet also fits here perfectly.
An understated affair then, but with a romantic heart, which makes this quite a rare improv disc as it seeps a kind of sadness of the kind we usually hear in other forms of music but rarely in the improv world. There is plenty of silence in there as well, particularly in the CD’s opening few minutes as the musicians find their place in the live event, so all of this combined together gives the CD a certain poignancy. The role of the two Argentinian musicians shouldn’t be underplayed here either. Though generally quiet and working as accompaniment to Akiyama’s foregrounded guitar, the subtlety in their playing, and the way they blend and filter their sounds through each other is very nicely done indeed, staying back in the shadows, (in fact creating the shadows) at times and flowing through into the light at key moments.
Not utterly essential music then, but a very nice disc to listen to, particularly on rainy grey nights like this one when the mood is a sombre one and the whisky glints golden at the bottom of the glass.