Verismo Trio, “Cloud Server” = Trio works by DEASON, KNABLE, SHRUDE, BOZICEVIC, BARABBA, PETERSON & EMERSON – ACA Digital

Verismo Trio, “Cloud Server” = DAVE DEASON: Trio; SUNNY KNABLE: Glassworks; MARILYN SHRUDE: Notturno: In Memoriam Toru Takemitsu; IVAN BOZICEVIC: Spiritual Mountain; JASON V. BARABBA: Torschlußpanik; RUSSELL PETERSON: Trio No. 1; JASON EMERSON: cloudServer – Verismo Trio (Nicole Riner, flute/Scott Turpen, sax/Theresa Bogard, p.) – ACA Digital CM20113 [Distr. by Albany], 68:41, (12/08/15) ****:

Very refreshing collection of new trio works and an interesting combination!

The appreciable value in this disc is as much in getting to know the talented Verismo Trio as it is in their program of all new and really interesting program choices. I am not aware of another flute, saxophone and piano trio and I certainly did not know there were so many nice pieces out there written for this unusual but beautiful combination.
This collection begins in an attention getting way with the very light, breezy and entertaining Trio by Dave Deason. There is a very nice jazzy vibe throughout the three movements that I quite enjoyed. This tone continues with Glassworks by pianist/composer Sunny Knable. The exact title reference to Philip Glass is very intentional; this work having been written for a different trio in Glass’s seventy-fifth birthday year. Each of the five one-minute movements reflects a different “state of glass” but, save some minimalist noodlings, sounds not at all like Phil Glass. This is another very light and entertaining work.

The mood shifts quite a bit with Marilyn Shrude’s Nottorno In Memoriam Toru Takemitsu. This work was written specifically in memory of the – at the time – recently deceased Takemistu (a composer whose work I have also greatly admired over the years.) This piece is dark and mysterious with little harmonies and gestures that actually seem to echo the work of Takemitsu and I found it very beautiful and pensive.

Spiritual Mountain by Ivan Bozicevic is a very interesting and somewhat impressionist take on a Korean folk song about a sacred mountain. Bozicevic states that the music purposefully takes us through a journey of ‘turmoil, struggle, calmness and, lastly, mental freedom.’ I found this work one of the highlights in this collection.

Torschlußpanik (“Gate-Closing Panic”) by Los Angeles based Jason Barabba may be the most unusual work on this program. The title and the structure of the piece are a reference to medieval castles into which a defending army had to rush before the huge wooden and metal gates slammed shut leaving the good guys trapped outside with the invaders. The “rushing” is simulated mostly in the flute and the music vacillates through some 7/8 and 4/4 meters in a bit of a ‘panic.’ I liked this particular rushing work.

This is followed by the very different Trio No. 1 by Russell Peterson. This is a very straight forward three movement work based somewhat on Middle Eastern modalities. A highlight is the pure tour de force final Allegro allowing each player (especially Scott Turpen on saxophone!) to show off their virtuosity. This is a high energy and fairly traditional work that remains interesting throughout.

This program concludes with CloudServer by Jason Emerson. This is a neat little work with some sparkling rhythms and interesting harmonies. We only get Jason’s description that he envisioned a piece of music based on the concepts of digital storage as a series of binaries; zeroes and ones, that get ‘corrupted’ from time to time.

All in all, this is a very interesting and entertaining collection and I really enjoyed getting to discover the Verismo Trio. They are wonderful players with very fine taste in repertoire. I think my favorite works here were those by Deason, Shrude and Bozicevic. However, I have no complaints about any of these works and I think any woodwind players and anyone who enjoys good “accessible” modern chamber music would like this a lot.

—Daniel Coombs

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