Gordon Allen / Frank Martel / Michel F. Côté All Up In There

This is riveting improvising from start to finish. This 32-minute, three-track CD of a Suoni per il Popolo Festival live performance in Montreal goes by way too fast. From the eerie, quiescent Allen trumpet intro, All Up In There is marked by a profound attention to sound quality and placement of ideas in time and relation to one another. In short, the three untitled pieces each display what appears like composer-ly forethought, afterthought and revision, while, of course, the performances are completely spontaneous, and all the better for it. Côté's drumming is filled with unexpected ideas, rhythms and colours, and he can lay down time, albeit in a deliciously skewed way. Martel's Theremin stays resolutely in the low, throbbing range and quite literally pulls you into the give-and-take of the improv, with its undulations and glissandi. Allen's trumpet playing has deliberateness and clarity, making his horn breathe with transcendental now-ness. This is strong stuff but the trio's sonic charisma makes listening difficult to resist. (Mr. E)