Piano keys, swinging basslines, drums that pounce on us here only to recoil in a sweeping move in the next bar; the weaponry might be simple in the new album Folds of Time by Mumex Trio, but the war they wage on mundanity is anything but simplistic.
If you’re a fan of real jazz, then Folds of Time was made with you in mind — blending together influences that span the Americas and Europe the same, Mumex Trio suggests a boundless conceptualism in the four songs comprising the tracklist of this album that is captivating and unique, but never overreaching. Instead of putting all of their stock in the mathy elements of a piece like “The Legend of Mansa,” we find these three players spreading the love around with expressive time signatures in “Traveling with Wayne,” a wholly progressive structure for the title track, and angst-ridden contempt for the standards of pop songcraft in the uncompromising “La Roue De La Fortune.” They’re able to cover a lot of ground for this record running shy of forty minutes in total, and while it’s been a good era for experimentalism in jazz overall, this is a release that really sits on a shelf all by itself.
Jazz aficionados needn’t worry about running into pop accents in the likes of a work like “Traveling with Wayne;” frankly, they’re the only aesthetical element not working their way into the disturbingly unpredictable sway of this piece. The dexterity of the musicians in the studio is unquestionably one of the most important attributes to be enjoyed within Folds of Time, but it’s also worth noting that without the clarity of this master mix, none of the decadent detail from which the melodic whip is lashed in “The Legend of Mansa” and the title cut would be audible to the audience.
There’s a lot of love that’s gone into even the smallest of intricacies here, which is telling of how important both compositional depth and strength of sound is to Louis Siciliano, the principal force behind Mumex Trio. Siciliano’s meticulousness is star-caliber, and I doubt you’ll find many critics to dispute as much when reviewing this masterful release bearing his group’s name in the byline.
I’m very impressed with what I’ve heard to date from Mumex Trio, and even if you’re not the most extreme jazz fan around, I think what they’ve assembled for listeners in this stacked offering is undisputedly worth a peek. What the players in this group share is absolute dynamite chemistry, and it’s the sort that you don’t come across every day in any genre of music, let alone something as intellectually demanding as jazz is.
This is an exhibition in musical mastery, but what’s more is that Folds of Time sounds like a love letter to jazz itself, rather than a mere commentary from some of its more accomplished and skillful players to share the same studio. I’ll be curious to hear more, and I’m certain I won’t be the only one saying so in 2022.