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Album Review: Mumex Trio “Folds Of Time”

From the initial glistening bars of its title track forward, there is at once as much volatility as there is a complex measure of melodicism in Folds of Time, the debut from collaborative jazz trio Mumex Trio. Rather than coupling cold grooves with a removed harmony from the piano keys and a firm double bass cradle, Mumex Trio wants to get messy with the time signature and even crazier with their melodic experimentation.

The same can be said for the other three songs included in Folds of Time, and although there’s a sense of wild optimism beneath the floorboards of every beat in this performance, there’s also a reserved sensibility that speaks to the self-control these players are able to exhibit with total seamlessness. Louis Siciliano is a careful composer in this record, but he’s also a showman when it comes to the depth of his output in the studio, joining forces with the likes of Roberto Bellatalla and Mauro Salvatore for what could be one of the best collaborative sessions between those committed to jazz, classical, and world music to arrive on our speakers in the past year.

A comparatively short interlude between the opening cut of “Traveling with Wayne” and the title track in the form of “La Roue De La Fortune” blesses us with some of the more vibrant piano melodies you’re going to hear in Folds of Time, but their wandering groove is essentially an extension from what we start the record off with some thirteen minutes prior.

What makes “Traveling with Wayne” such a formidable force to be reckoned with here has little to do with how long the song actually runs and almost everything to do with the aesthetical experiment it prepares seemingly on the fly. We’re moving so fast and yet so deliberately with the action of all three musicians, and whether guided by percussion or not, it always feels like we’re heading in a forward motion. These are players who play for the sake of appreciating the medium, and they preserve the integrity of the craft exceedingly well on every occasion they’re offered in this album.

While I’m inclined to call “The Legend of Mansa” and the title track equally romantic in tone, largely thanks to their vivid appropriation of oversized basslines, they each present a different viewpoint on what feels like the same theme of wanderlust. If this isn’t the perfect adventurer’s companion, I really don’t know what is – Folds of Time has both the essence of a traveling soundtrack and the charismatic notion of pushing its audience to interpret every shattered beat as a loud, enticing porter’s call. Mumex Trio masterfully proves that collaborations definitely don’t have to be about ego in this tracklist, and whether you’re a serious jazz fan or just occasionally like to get into a more intellectually stimulating brand of music, what they’re presenting to the audience in Folds of Time is too culturally provocative to be left on the shelf through the duration of February.

Loren Sperry

 

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