The “A” Trio – Music to our Ears (CD Al Maslakh Records)

Fantastic release from the Lebanese regions. Besides great collaborations with Scrambled Eggs on the Johnny Kafta label (Beach Party at Myrna el Chalouhi, Scrambled Eggs and friends) here Mazen Kerbaj performs just as The “A” trio, together with Sharif Sehnaoui and Raed Yassin (duo Praed) on motherlabel Al Maslakh. The Al Maslakh label focuses on experimental improv (their catalogue also has Brötzman, Eddie Prévost to name a few), and with the current continuous flood of improv albums, it must be difficult to release stuff that is able to stand the test. As for the test, do not look further. This record is just awesome, and also is a great introduction to the label. The 33 minutes of 'Textural Swing' is a magic pulsating piece of improv, while the other 3 tracks, blending improv and experimental with a sometimes Krautrockish texture, build up an increasing tension. This makes for a constant kind of restrained atmosphere, as if the self-created, claustrophobic tension is so high that an eruption would be so violent, it simply is not dared. The label says its mission is to publish the unpublishable in the Lebanese artistic scene. Good for us that there are people willing to make this effort. PvdG