Ingrid Laubrock Sleepthief,
The Madness of Crowds
Ingrid Laubrock - Saxophones
Liam Noble - Piano
Tom Rainey - Drums
The madness of crowds is from Sleepthief, a cooperative trio of sax, piano and drums. This configuration appears to be all the rage these days: Ellery Eskelin, Ken Vandermark and Rob Brown all have recent albums out using this format.
Liam Noble is the new entity for me, although this trio has a prior release out on the same label. Noble occasionally uses a prepared piano effect that has a zither-type sound, a little of which goes a very long way. I mean, if I wanted to listen to frickin' Zamfir king of the pan flute I'd go buy his album off the telly, now wouldn't I?
On another track it sounds like someone's blowing bubbles underwater, which also doesn't add anything to the proceedings. Once they quit horsing around, though, at about track 3, things pick up nicely. There’s some great interplay between the three musicians, and Laubrock impresses on soprano as well as tenor, demonstrating a nice control on the smaller horn.
Ms. Laubrock is a frustrating artist to listen to in a way, because she seems to prefer free improv settings, but I'm not sure that's really her strength. A little structure or, dare I say it, melody, suits her better. Still, she's a star on the rise and it will be interesting to see where she goes from here.