Colin Vallon: piano; Patrice Moret: double bass; Julian Sartorius: drums
“This is highly original music… Vallon’s project has something to with how we perceive time in music – and music in time. It’s fascinating and accrues more and more interest with repeated listening.”
Paul De Barros, Downbeat
The Colin Vallon Trio has found its own space in the crowded world of the piano trio by quietly challenging its conventions. On its third ECM album Vallon again leads the group not with virtuosic solo display but by patient outlining of melody and establishing of frameworks in which layered group improvising can take place. Reviewing the group’s 2014 release Le Vent, Jazzwise wrote of a “restless stillness” that characterizes the music: “the power of resonantly minimal explorations of texture and atmosphere.”
With this group, gentle and insistent rhythms can trigger seismic musical events. Although Vallon (recently nominated for the Swiss Music Prize) is the author of nine of the pieces here, the band members share equal responsibilities for the music’s unfolding. The gravitational pull of Patrice Moret’s bass and the intense detail supplied by Julian Sartorius’s drums and cymbals are crucial to the success of Vallon’s concept and the range of emotions the music can convey. All three of them reflect upon timbre and the changing nature of the ensemble sound in each moment. “I have always been interested in a group developing a collective way of thinking, where there is more than just the egos of the musicians involved,” Colin Vallon told Swiss newspaper Der Bund last year. Danse, recorded in February 2016, was produced by Manfred Eicher at Lugano’s Auditorio Stelio Molo RSI, where working in a resonant acoustic space without headphones has also contributed to the quality of deep listening inside the music, and helped it to open up even more.
Colin Vallon (born 1980 in Lausanne) has been leading his own bands since 1999. Patrice Moret (born in Aigle in 1972) joined Vallon’s group in 2004. Rruga, recorded in 2010 was the third Vallon trio album and its first for ECM, immediately greeted by positive press. The musical understanding between Vallon and Moret has been further honed inside Albanian singer Elina Duni’s quartet (see the albums Matinë Malit and Dallëndyshe), another place where improvisation flowers outside jazz’s frame of reference. Vallon has often said that singers have influenced him more than other jazz instrumentalists. Beyond the trio he writes music for diverse ensembles and choreographers. Vallon and Moret play also in saxophonist Nicolas Masson’s group Parallels.
In addition to the centring power of his bass, Patrice Moret has contributed striking compositions to the trio repertoire, in this case the kinetic motoric piece “Tinguely”.
Julian Sartorius has been drummer with Vallon’s trio for more than four years, joining in time for the recording of Le Vent. Born in Thun in 1981, Sartorius had his first drum lessons at the age of 5, and later studied at the jazz schools of Lucerne and Bern with teachers including Pierre Favre and Norbert Pfammatter. He has collaborated with Matthew Herbert, Shahzad Ismaily, Sylvie Courvoisier, Dimlite, Merz, Fred Frith, Sophie Hunger, Rhys Chatham and many others.