(Clean Feed)

Guitarist and composer Fields assembled a double trio to interpret the complex nuances of his half-written, half-improvised scores, giving the players circumstantial instructions in order for the compositions to sound like “puzzle pieces”, the six instrumentalists effectively intertwining rhythms and phraseologies yet resulting as a coherent, and ultimately delightful whole. No wonder that this stuff remained unpublished for years, while – to quote its originator – “label owners fell in and out of love with the music”: this is fairly difficult material, which in its presumed calmness offers many and one points of observation for a series of crosscurrents mixing modern jazz and quasi-chamber apparitions, spiced by mostly clean-toned if pretty dissonant guitars (Fields and Jeff Parker – yes, Tortoise’s), elegantly austere, beautifully sustaining basses (Jason Roebke, Hans Sturm), swinging-but-also-pensive drumming (Hamid Drake, Michael Zerang). Divided into seven tracks, whose names are a joy to read – take a look at the full title of “…His late wife…”to have an idea – the 72 minutes of “Dénouement” do not carry excessive weight at any moment, being instead gifted with considerable musicianship which transports the ensemble towards those heights where the rarefied air of clever interplay is present and easily breathable. Minimal in a way, communicative at various levels, these arrangements show Fields’ lucid vision and ability to remain within the realms of circuitousness while avoiding those sterile dialectic supplements that uncork the bottles of vintage listlessness typical of dead-end jazz. This is a commendable album to savour delicately, repeatedly, consciously.