City Paper is not for tourists
Growing up in Michigan provided me access to the vast array of sounds of the Canadian Broadcast Corporation. After its daytime classical and jazz programming, CBC’s night program provided increasingly difficult listening over its three-hour tour, usually beginning with punk and culminating in the seeming chaos of modern composition. I fell asleep to the show nearly every night for six years, many times waking in a panic from vivid dreams as the late-night lunacy played tricks on my subconscious. If the Clusone Trio has a similar subliminal effect, perhaps it’s because its inspirations are as ecumenical: The group’s stew seems to include equal measures of György Ligeti’s time-disrupting modern classicism, Duke Ellington’s swing, and crazy Tex Avery’s cartoons. The compositions of underrated jazzers like Herbie Nichols (“The Gig”) and Dewey Redman (“Qow”), and acknowledged masters such as Bud Powell (“Celia”) and Ellington (“Angelica [Purple Gazelle]”), are accorded the same respect. Two entirely different versions of Irving Berlin’s novelty “I’m an Indian, Too” anchor the disc; the first is stiff and weary, the second loose and lively. The unusual combination of Michael Moore’s bass clarinet, alto saxophone, clarinet, and melodica with Ernst Reijseger’s cello and Han Bennink’s percussion provides a fresh tonal vibrancy to the covers, and to the group’s own angular originals. I Am an Indian was recorded live in Austria, Germany, Switzerland, and, the only place where the trio’s inspired musings are guaranteed air time, Canada.