AXIS TRIO: Anthem (Accretions Records)


Posted on Dec 1st 2010 12:46 am

Filed in Albums | Tags: ,
Comments (1)

Axis Trio: Anthem

Accretions Records 2010
11 Tracks. 59mins30secs

Amazon UK: DLD US: DLD iTunes: DLD

The cover of Axis Trio’s second album shows a complex set of geometrical shapes arranged in interconnecting symmetrical patterns, highlighting the origins of the three members of Axis Trio. Formed of Moroccan pianist Amino Belyamani, Iranian American bassist Sam Minaie and Pakistani American drummer Qasim Naqvi, also a member with another fine jazz ensemble, Dawn Of Midi, who released their debut album, First, earlier in the year, Axis Trio first appeared two years ago with The Hand, an album released on SNP Records, and have, over the years, performed alongside some of the finest names on the jazz scene. As a formation, they operate on a primarily acoustic template, but their sound, like the intricate patterns of the cover of this album, is more complex than may appear at first.

Having joined the ranks of Accretions Records as the label celebrates its twenty-fifth anniversary, Axis Trio have created with Anthem an endearing piece of modern free-flowing jazz, powered by a strong rhythmic section and brought to life by fluid piano swathes. While the three members of the band all share strong Middle Eastern connections, their music doesn’t actually feed on this cultural heritage. Instead, they name John Coltrane, Shostakovich or Aphex Twin amongst their influences, channeled into beautiful compositions where no particular instrument occupies a more privileged position than the others.

While the piano draws exquisite motifs throughout, in turn cascading into rich arpeggios (L’Enfant Symptôme, …Then It Walked), or developing into light rippling melodies (When The Curd Meets The Rennet, Whey It Out, Immortality), the bass and drums work closely together to provide wonderful counterpoints, control the force and delivery of a groove or challenge the position of the piano. While The Hand was entirely acoustic, Axis are incorporating some electronics here, but they do so through such delicate touches that they can often go unnoticed, until repeat listens brings them into focus. There are evidences of this right from the opening seconds of, and throughout, When The Curd Meets The Rennet, while distorted noises are splattered over the opening sequence of Eh-Che-Ka or Leap Toward, which also see Minaie tearing apart a saturated cello part. On It Shall Ripen, Belyamani expands the acoustic reach of his instrument by adding brushes of prepared piano, creating a slightly dissonant flip-side to the main piano theme, while on …Then It Walked, it is Naqvi who supplements his set with metallic percussive components to create a rich layer reminiscent at times of Thomas Strønen. It is only on closing track The Hand That Feeds that the balance between acoustic and electronics shifts drastically towards the latter as the trio explore a much funkier rhythmic settings and apply increasingly dense and textured soundscapes and treated acoustics as the piece goes through a series of radically different sections.

The strength of the trio resides in how they cleverly position each of the instruments and sounds used according to the tone they intend for a piece, and how this continuously changes, even through a piece, to reveal new facets of the music as the album progresses. Anthem is the confident work of a formation whose level of maturity shows that they ready to take on new challenges.


Axis Trio | Axis Trio (MySpace) | Accretions Records
Amazon UK: DLD US: DLD iTunes: DLD

Filed in Albums | Tags: ,
Comments (1)

One Response to “AXIS TRIO: Anthem (Accretions Records)”

  1. […] Buy the album here. […]