In-House Science is one of those jazz trio albums that just sweeps you off your feet and takes you away for a luxurious, scintillating ride that you never want to get off of. The latest from double-bassist Arild Andersen and his band Paolo Vinacci on drums and Tommy Smith on tenor saxophone, is a live album (recorded in September of 2016 in Austria) that features some adventurous renditions of tracks from their 2014 album Mira, as well as a few other original compositions.
The lengthy opener "Mira" just soars, Andersen's leathery double bass and Vinacci's steady drum fills allowing Smith to take extended flights, with all three interlocked as if by a telepathic sense but the melodies always gorgeous. "Science" is a rhythmic monster, the leader's nimble bass lines firing off as if shot from a machine gun, the drums acrobatic, and Smith's raging sax impossible to ignore. This is commanding, daring jazz at its finest, with plenty of room for solos and fiery band interplay. "Venice" allows for dreamier soundscapes, but the simmering fire of the trio is always present and ready to explode at any time, and Andersen fires off plenty of solo jaunts here that showcase his incredible talents. The chilling "North of the Northwind" sees Arild pull out his bow and wrench cold, haunting tones from his bass, and when he goes back to picking the notes and is joined by Smith's floating sax melodies, the images of the freezing cold, harsh, yet undoubtedly beautiful Norwegian winters are unmistakable. It's easily one of the most gorgeous numbers included in this set. "Blussy" bobs and grooves along in quirky fashion, complete with screaming sax lines and swaying rhythms, while the closing title track ends things in raucous, near free-jazz chaos, with Vinacci's manic stick work, nimble walking bass lines from the leader, and Smith's frenzied squonking obliterating anything in its path. What a way to end a outstanding album filled with variety, drama, violence, and beauty.
ECM Records has a track record that is proven and consistent, but In-House Science is an absolute corker of a live album from a trio at the height of their powers, giving the label one of I'm sure to be many must-hear jazz releases they will release in 2018. Don't miss this one!
4) North of The Northwind