Max Johnson Trio – The Invisible Trio
1. The Pretzel - 3:47 2. Bizza - 7:55 3. Held for Questioning - 4:15 4. Don Wrinkles - 4:58 5. The Invisible Trio - 4:13 6. A Pair of Glasses - 6:52 7. Moving Vehicle - 4:02 8. The Golem 4:28
All compositions by Max Johnson
Kirk Knuffke (cornet), Max Johnson (bass), and Ziv Ravitz (drums).
Recorded by Michael Broby at Acoustic Recording, Brooklyn, New York, on May 29, 2013
1. Jazz Journal - Brian Morton - May, 2014
"I wondered for a brief moment whether the title referenced the Trinity, but suspect that this music comes from a different place. There’s a dark, almost Hebraic quality to the bassist’s writing and the trio, far from being invisible, is strongly foregrounded at all times. This is a challenging format, though Johnson’s bowed figures and strong, throbbing solos make up for the lack of a harmony instrument. The Pretzel is a nicely salty, twisted line that gets the three voices working together. The title track is a mournful-sounding horn chorale over singing bass harmonics. Moving Vehicle is light, mobile bop and sparks a great solo from Ravitz. The leader opens A Pair Of Glasses with a bass exposition that is less theme statement than premature solo: a lovely touch. The others veer between upbeat and atmospheric. The effect is similar to Paul Smoker’s early trio recordings but without the Midwesterner’s pleasantly professorial mien. I don’t know whether Don Wrinkles alludes to Don Rickles, but it’s a nice generic term for this strand of jazz.
Johnson is just one of a run of fine bassist / composer / leaders around at the moment, many of them brought to notice by Fresh Sound. Jordi Pujol seems to have open and responsive ears for the lower frequencies."
2. The New York City Jazz Record - Brad Cohan - March, 2014
"As a stalwart of New York’s avant garde jazz scene, bassist Max Johnson’s impressive purview extends to both the cozy confines of Cornelia Street Café and Barbès to the raw, DIY venues like JACK and Spectrum. That cross-pollination proves manifold when glancing at Johnson’s cadre of cohorts. His working trio of cornetist Kirk Knuffke and drummer Ziv Ravitz doesn’t partake in the manic and shrieking energy music of some of his other collaborations, instead opting for a controlled chaos - experimentally-minded yet elegantly composed tunes, highlighting the individual gifts of each player. Johnson may pen a majority of the compositions but he has no problem ceding the spotlight to Knuffke and Ravitz for the twosome to dart away on adventurous tangents.
That synergy quickly arrived to fruition on the trio’s excellent debut, Elevated Vegetation (FMR), a set of free form-imbued interplay. Now the group is back with The Invisible Trio, a solid, tightly constructed platter with less improvisational flourishes but brimming with infectiously melodic counterpoint and equal platforms, where each instrument takes center stage, traversing its own terrain with a spontaneous gusto before ultimately converging into a whole. Johnson is an intrepid composer, architect of sound and beast of the bass, layering postbop cuts like “Don Wrinkles” and “Moving Vehicle” with rhythmic and beefy might, plucking, bowing and strumming his bass strings with aplomb while Knuffke colors the soundscapes with swinging lyricism and expressive tone. The Invisible Trio may be Johnson’s vehicle but this group’s organic and remarkable confluence is truly of one mind."
3. tomajazz.com - Pachi Tapiz - Abril 9, 2014
"el segundo CD del trío del contrabajista Max Johnson es una grabación muy bien medida. Cuarenta minutos, ocho temas -todos ellos compuestos por el líder del trío-, y variedad tanto en las influencias como en el tempo de las piezas. Interacción por encima de todo (el único modo en que funcione un trío de corneta -Kirk Knuffke-, batería -Ziv Ravitz-, y contrabajo). El resultado es un CD que se escucha del tirón, en el que se incluyen buenas melodías y buenos solos. Una grabación en la que no sobra nada, y en la que su moderación consigue que destaque entre otras obras."
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