By Bill Meyer | Published November 2018
Bebop inspired beat authors to invest their writing with more rhythm, soul, spontaneity and unpredictability. Now, the Mia Dyberg Trio, a collection of Danish and Norwegian musicians with strong connections to Berlin’s improvised music scene, brings things back around by claiming the influence of beat writer William S. Burroughs. In addition to working through the varied dimensions of his oeuvre, Burroughs was a vivid performer, a serpentine narrator, a bone-dry comic and an unsparing truth-teller.
The trio’s music, whether composed by alto saxophonist Dyberg and bassist Asger Thomsen or collectively improvised, matches its inspiration with impact and clearly has the edge when it comes to lucidity.
Thomsen has a strong instinct for structure, which ensures direction and cohesiveness, even during the music’s most free-flowing moments. The saxophonist’s adroit phrasing and tonal flexibility express a variety of moods and textures quite clearly, and her melodic imagination ensures that each gesture lands with emotion. “Party Ist Vorbei” captures the reflective melancholy one might experience when a long evening’s fun winds down; “Claws Out” stretches and twists with feline elasticity.
Ultimately, it matters less that one can spot the literary influence here than the music succeeding on its own merits. With its strong writing, responsive interaction and expressive playing, the trio delivers.
Ticket!: Ticket!; Party Ist Vorbei; Wil’s Swing; Silversmoke; Mia’s Pulse; Nord; Snap!; Claws Out; Tropical; Chinese Laundry; Snapback; Stilhed; The First Track; How Do You Know When You Are Through? (49:58)
Personnel: Mia Dyberg, alto saxophone; Asger Thomsen, bass; Dag Magnus Narvesen, drums.