The origin of the English term "the real McCoy" are multiple, but in general it means "the real thing", and that's what you can say about this fantastic trumpet trio, Glue, with Tom Arthurs on trumpet, Miles Perkin on bass and Yorgos Dimitriadis on percussion.
This is the second release by Glue, and I must admit that I did not know the band, so I cannot compare their evolution. Their first release can be purchased via the label. Perkins and Arthurs also played together before on "Objects In Mirrors Are Closer Than They Appear".
Arthurs has released trumpet trio albums before, with Jasper Høiby and Stu Ritchie on "Explications", but like his duo albums with pianist Richard Fairhurst, his tone was usually warm, and his playing "inside", with a high level of abstraction in his playing at times, but always accessible. So for listeners knowing the trumpeter only from his previous albums will get a surprise here. The trio goes into full avant-garde or free improv mode, playing carefully paced and placed notes and phrases in a quite intimate and deeply felt interaction. The slight inclination towards classical romanticism and jubilant phrases are absent here.
What you get goes beyond any pattern, but beautifully, full of surprises yet relatively accessible, or more accessible at least than we are used to from the label. Yet they are line with the label's overall approach to music, to create quiet, yet incredibly intense sonic universes, without real soloing, but rather with only one task for the musicians, to create a coherent and unique sound, as the result of the instruments playing their sparse notes on an open canvas of silence. The result is absolutely great, primarily because of the dynamic nature of the music.
Even if there is no rhythm or harmonic development, the sounds move forward, little notes get stretched, accentuated by dry percussive beats, wails turn into dogs wimpering, a pluck on a bass emphasises the loneliness, or the color shifts completely, as on the last track, on which the percussion gives a solid rumbling foundation supporting the monotonous trumpet extending vibrant tones shimmering above the dark undertones of the bass. Less is more, but here with substance and depth.
Highly recommended! Stef (FreeJazz)
Another band featuring the wonderful doublebassist Miles Perkin (see Sequoia reviewed yesterday). Perkin splits his time between Montreal and Berlin. Here he is in a Berlin-based trio alongside Tom Arthurs on trumpet and Yorgos Dimitradis on drums. Chats with the Real McCoy comes close to the deep-running beauty of the music of the Miles Perkin Quartet, although here everything is freely improvised. Eight short pieces, 42 minutes in all. Deep listening, measure, a complex dance of seduction. Better than Sequoia. François Couture (Monsieur Delire)
[…] Demonstrating Free Music’s geographic reach, GLUE members are all Berliners, but each is from a different country. Trumpeter Tom Arthurs is British, bassist Miles Perkin, Canadian and percussionist Yorgos Dimitriadis, Greek.
It seems that a rusty gate got opened by a mischievously alluring shadow who invites listener to play some games in its manor on "Fallen Lucifers", the opening track by which Glue, a brilliant Berlin-based trio comprising of British trumpeter Tom Arthurs - I previously met his name as a member of Julia Huelsmann quartet -, Canadian rising star Miles Perkin - a real talent on upright and acoustic bass of Montreal music scene - and Greek drummer and percussionist Yorgos Dimitriadis, ignites this chat with The Real McCoy. The eight funny improvisations by these musicians aggregate free-jazz modus operandi and bizarre performative techniques to dark-tinged jazz so that you could have the impression that they sometimes dissolved sonorities a-la Kilimanjaro Dark Jazz Ensmble in highly-corrosive acid which managed to break subatomic bonds as well as hierarchical connection as there'a no leading instrument in each track: a seducing trumpet sounds like searching its leak in a funnel which got obstructed by popping drums on "Washington Mint and Blushing Cherry" before the title-track "Chats With The Real McCoy" got the meaning out the name of the band as the trumpet seems to get played as if someone sticked Arthurs' lips by some glue before he managed to articulate some proper tone and a temporary atrophy seems to increase friction for drums and upright bass before they begin to tune in. The lively instrumental scolding on "The Wrong Food Buy" and the shimmering nuance of "She is The Queenly Pearl" precede the funny tightrope walking of "The Tragic Jester" - in order to highlight the portray of such an imaginative character, drums sound like proper eyesores! -, the strangled sonorities of "Split Ink" and the entrancing final "Red Dawn and Blue Denim", where they reaches the highest peak of the release. As they pointed out on the cover notes, it' "best heard with headphones or in an undistracted listening environment". Vito Camarretta (Chain DLK)
A expressão “the real McCoy” significa, em Português, “coisa verdadeira” – o curioso é que surja no título do mais desalinhado dos discos já gravados pelo trompetista Tom Arthurs, seja com o trio Glue ou com outra formação. Regra geral, a abordagem deste é mais convencional, num registo romântico que o coloca na esfera de influência de um Kenny Wheeler. O curioso é que “Chats with the Real McCoy” mantém do início ao fim uma deliciosa ambiguidade: é experimental, abstracto, livre, mas nunca perde a fundamentação jazz. Mais ainda: nunca deixa de ser acessível a uma audição menos “especializada”.
This is the second album by the Improvised Music trio Glue, consisting of three Berlin based musicians: British trumpeter Tom Arthurs, Canadian bassist Miles Perkin and Greek drummer Yorgos Dimitriadis. Together they perform eight original pieces all attributed collectively to the trio members and of course all improvised.
The music is an intimate conversation between three musicians, who give each other a lot of space and respect, creating an on the fly trialogue of rare beauty. Listening to this music is like eavesdropping on a tête-à-tête by three friends, who are freely exchanging ideas and supporting each other to express them. In complete contrast to most Improvised Music recordings, this music is so minimalistic and non aggressive, that listening to it requires nothing more than an open mind and pushing conventional approach to music aside.
The trumpet work by Arthurs is obviously the most impressive piece of the puzzle, with futuristic sound vistas, virtuosic triads and single notes thrown in the air like fireworks and innovative approach to the trumpet, changing its role within the Free Jazz / Improvised Music idioms, like Don Cherry did five decades earlier.
But of course Glue is all about communal experience and the work of Perkin and Dimitriadis is an integral part of the end result. Both play little of what might be considered as traditional role of the rhythm section, exploring their degrees of freedom to the max. The bass, used very percussively, in addition to the usual plucking, adds an entire layer which gives this music its bodily essence, whereas the percussion plays constantly, but never any steady rhythmic patters, simply ornamenting the overall result with a myriad of one note accents and pulsations.
The resulting music becomes a one of its kind experience, which miraculously holds water after it was recorded. Most of Improvised Music may be communicative or fascinating enough to be heard live but fails to retain the magic on record. This album proves that creating a lasting Improvised Music piece is possible.
Although Improvised Music connoisseurs are a tiny minority even among the Jazz lovers, they tend to be extremely faithful as fans, and therefore I hardly recommend to all of them to listen to this album as this music is truly worth being discovered and followed in the future. Adam Baruch