Windisch Trio: Pros and Cons


If Esbjörn Svensson re-energized the piano trio format at the turn of the millennium, it’s fair to say that in more recent times a certain obsolescence has set in. That’s not to say the medium is on the decline, but it’s striking how many of the most exciting bands have a connection with the Copenhagen Conservatory of Rhythmic Music (RMC). Examples are Belovèd, Enemy, Phronesis by Django Bates or the trios of Jacob Anderskov, and on this proof, the newly formed Windisch Trio seems to be ready to join the roster.

Born in Stuttgart in 1995, Julius Windisch studied in Bern before obtaining his master’s degree from RMC and now resides in Berlin. His short discography includes the breezy debut of 2017 Drama (QFTF), a more daring 2019 project with drummer Peter Bruun with electronics and vocals, and the rhythmic daring of the Windisch Quartett chaos (Hout Records), which was enthusiastically reviewed in these pages in July 2020.

Lots of coins on Advantages and disadvantages were written in Copenhagen in 2019, and unlike chaos Windisch relies heavily on harmony and conventional forms of jazz. Sure, the broken beats that are so synonymous with RMC are still present, but there’s also a clear line to Paul Bley and Chick Corea’s exploratory trios of the late 60s and early 70s.

In the first 60 seconds, the trio goes from tight and dreamy unison to a free and loose improvisation. The music comes to you in waves, and it’s hard not to get carried away. Oknagut’s boppish theme and bouncy gait belies how much Spallati and Merlo swim against the tide, while the grim title track offers a window into Windisch’s mind during a period of indecision. Trendy and introspective, it has an emotional gravity reminiscent of Andrew Hill’s Prime Blue Note.

Going For It sees the trio having fun with conventional swing, while the two Interludes, far from programmatic filler, are perhaps the most enigmatic and complex pieces of the set. Closing with the looping pirouettes of Nie Aufhören (Never Stop), the exciting new trio from Windisch delivered a strong candidate for album of the year.

At the end of May; Oknagut; Interlude I; Advantages and disadvantages ; Go for it ; From Rona; Interlude II; Shepherd; Nie Aufhören (53.03)
Julius Windisch (p); Igor Spallati (b); Fermin Merlo (d). September 2020, Berlin.
Double Moon Records DMCHR71389

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