John Zorn: Gnostic Trio
Bill Frisell, Kenny Wollesen, & Carol Emanuel
Although this trio formally came together in 2013 to play Zorn’s music on the album In Lambeth: Visions from the Walled Garden of William Blake, harpist Carol Emmanuel and guitarist Bill Frisell count as some of the composer’s most enduring collaborators, stretching back the 1980s. Percussionist Kenny Wollesen entered that fray in the 90s, and he’s been a key part of Zorn’s extended family ever since, currently as the rhythmic engine in the composer’s New Masada Quartet.
This trio’s timbre is all about vibration and resonance, a glistening sonic profile of unparalleled warmth and radiance. Although Wollesen is one of the best drummers in the world, in this context he sticks to tuned percussion, where his melodically sublime lines on vibraphone and chimes fit the resonant sweetness forged by his two partners perfectly. Over the years Ikue Mori has contributed some of her liquid electronics to the project, but more often than not it delivers otherworldly three-way interplay where the gorgeous harmonies feel secondary compared to the melodic generosity of each player.