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Mark Reboul/Roberta Piket/Billy Mintz - Seven pieces/about an hour/saxophone, piano, drums (ESP-Disk’)

7 December 2023

Few labels are as adamant at showcasing free improvisation as ESP-Disk’, but Seven pieces/about an hour/saxophone, piano, drums does more than that: it shines a light on an under-recorded talent. Pianist Roberta Piket and drummer Billy Mintz have plenty of documentation, but saxophonist Mark Reboul had made only a few guest appearances on other folks’ albums before recording this session in 2004. While it’s taken a while for it to be released, the wait was worth it. Seven pieces doesn’t display the whirlwind side of free jazz – there’s little fury and chaos here. Instead the trio simply feels their way around each other’s spontaneity, imbuing cuts like “6 ¾” and “7 ¾” with surprising bits of melody fueled by the joy of discovery. “9” and “11 ¾” waft along beautifully in atmospheric balladry, showcasing the trio’s empathic chemistry even better than the friskier cuts, though even those prize intimacy over impact. Spontaneous composition is rarely so lovely as this.