Mark O'Leary/Mat Maneri/Matthew Shipp Chamber Trio

The are string records and then there are "string” records. Two of these musicians — violinist Mat Maneri along with pianist Matthew Shipp — have worked previously in the past (check out their hathut disc Out Right Now that they’d penned together with Joe Morris). Guitarist Mark O’Leary is a new name on the block, and ultimately the one who provides some of the biggest surprises on this release. Chamber Trio is just as the title suggests: some fine-tuned improvised chamber music (whatever that terms means to you). In all honesty though, it does have that powerful and burdening "chamber” sound. The dual-axis of violin and piano is rich in its output. Matthew Shipp’s touch on the piano is rather delicate and he doesn’t stretch himself into new territories. At times, he does unleash a barrage of piano strokes that quiets down the other two players, at least for a few moments. Mark O’Leary’s guitar picking is really rather gentle though. He produces these non-threatening waves that meander between Maneri’s articulate violin playing and Shipp’s alternating piano strokes. The one drawback is that O’Leary seems to be trying, for one reason or another, to melt into the landscape the other two players are drawing. All in all, this is a great debut for this trio. (Leo)