From the opening strains of “Assembly” through the closing notes in “Photogram,” this is not only a consistent group, but a newborn trio – a true collective.
According to journalist Michael Rosenstein, “It’s striking how the three play off of each other, drawing on each of their strengths while bringing out new shadings as well. Karayorgis’ oblique angularities and impeccable sense of harmonic phrasing are there, only concentrated to a heady distillate. Here his playing is as much about the space around the notes as it is attention to the carefully placed angular motifs and shard-like chords. McBride is an insightful musician who is now receiving the attention he deserves. This trio setting brings out the muscular grace in his playing, as the dark timbres of his bass counter with the piano and clarinet. Gregorio’s clarinet completes the picture. Throughout, his playing is infused with the warm woody tones and phrasing of the jazz clarinet vocabulary while filtered through his structuralist sensibility.”
According to journalist Greg Buium’s four-star review in the June 2007 issue of downbeat magazine, “Chicago Approach is a heady, fastidious and wonderfully vivid example of the far-flung coalitions that fuel much of contemporary improvised music. Boston-based pianist Pandelis Karayorgis joins Chicago-based clarinetist Guillermo Gregorio and bassist Nate McBride in this mélange of the impromptu and the predesigned.
What’s written? What isn’t? Why does it matter? It doesn’t. This set sticks together so marvelously and subtly. Jimmy Giuffre’s name is bound to come up with any clarinet, piano, and bass trio. Gregorio, Karayorgis, and McBride even play Giuffre’s ‘Variation.’ But the inspirations here are vast: air-traffic controllers, discrete ‘structural strategies,’ new music and even geometry. It’s a cerebral document, but the basic drama and color are what give it power. McBride offers husky, dominant lines. Gregorio floats and skitters from Lee Konitz to Thelonius Monk to delicious reed abstractions. Karayorgis’ lines are frantic, focused and appealing. The group’s modest movement resonates. To conclude the set, ‘Photogram’ offers mumbling piano, shearing clarinet and bass overtones. It’s fragmented but also incisive, filled with a quiet beauty.”
This recording, which was recorded and mixed in the 24 bit domain, includes liner notes from Boston-based journalist Michael Rosenstein, and gripping cover art from the late László Moholy-Nagy.