ETE Trio: Sad And Beautiful (RJAL 397018)

Cover

ETE Trio
Sad and Beautiful

Andy Emler piano
Claude Tchamitchian double bass
Eric Echampard drums
Recorded July 1/2 and mixed August 14/15, 2013 at Studios La Buissonne by Gérard de Haro, assisted by Romain Castéra
Mastered by Nicolas Baillard at Studios La Buissonne
Piano prepared and tuned by Alain Massonneau
Produced by Gérard de Haro and RJAL for La Buissonne Label
Release date: January 28, 2014

The ETE Trio—whose acronym stands for pianist Andy Emler, bassist Claude Tchamitchian, and drummer Eric Echampard—spins of its most fragrant fields on record with Sad and Beautiful. “A journey through hope” takes its first steps by gliding rather than walking, speaking through arco bass as if it were an amplifier of the soul. Cycling between ambient stretches out of time and heavy grooves steeped within it, the 11-minute opener actualizes a philosophy built on the permanent spaces between things rather than the ephemeral accomplishments linked to said things themselves.

This balance between the material and immaterial is what distinguishes ETE’s musical acts from their traditional counterparts and is reflected in a tendency to change things up from track to track. Note, for example, the brief and pliant train ride through memories on the verge of fading completely that is “Last chance,” yet which despite those grand implications sits up against “Elegances,” in which a more cellular approach to thematic development lets in the light of spontaneous interaction shine through panes of glass to a trifold interior.

A chain of topographical associations ensues. “Second chance” dips the piano in a dark green lake of bass and rippling cymbals before setting up a campfire near it in “Tee time” and planting a spray of delicate underbrush in “By the way.” Last, we are led into the melodic ellipses of “Try home,” cast into the night like a fishing line from the heart.

While each musician is fantastically talented in his own right, in the present formation I feel like any attempts at separation would do them a disservice. And so, the instinct to shorten their names to a single palindrome makes perfect sense. Such is the nature of their collective spirit.

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