The Bridge Sessions 02 (Across the Bridges TBS 02; France) The Sync is Sylvaine Helary on flute, effects & voice, Fred Lonberg-Holm on cello & effects, Eve Risser on piano & prepared piano and Mike Reed on drums. The Bridge is a transatlantic network for creative music that brings together musicians from across the ocean. For this session there are two French musicians: Ms. flutist Sylvaine Helary (who has a great 2 CD set on Ayler) and pianist Eve Risser (superb solo CD on Clean Feed & member of Pascal Niggenkemper 7). I caught Ms. Helary sitting in with Kris Davis a few months ago at Cornelia Street Cafe and she played a few flute solos, one of which astonished everyone in attendance. Keep your eye on her! The other half of this quartet features two musicians from Chicago: cellist Fred Lonberg-Holm (plays with everyone) and drummer Mike Reed (a dozen great discs as a leader). This disc was recorded both in studios in France and Chicago. The close mic’d sound and balance are consistently superb. Ms. Risser has been getting better and better at conjuring mysterious sounds from inside the piano. The playing and interaction between the flute, piano, cello and percussion is extraordinary. Mr. Lonberg-Holm takes a fascinating long solo on the first piece, using a bit of sustain and sounding like Fred Frith’s guitar from the Henry Cow era. Since both Ms. Helary and Mr. Lonberg-Holm use effects, there are some mysterious sounds which are hard to place. Ms.Helary also does some odd sounding spoken word (subdues yet strange) in French which only adds to the already weird vibe. The first of three pieces is 27 & 1/2 minutes long and is pretty incredible. Midway, the tempo shifts into hyperdrive with some astonishing, furiously spinning piano, cello, flute and percussion! This disc is nearly an hour long and is consistently spell-binding! By bringing together an international quartet of gifted improvisers, The Bridge has excelled at some well needed diplomacy, breaking down established borders/barriers and showing how the combined effort is even stronger than the separate parts. Outstanding! –

Bruce Lee Gallanter, DMG