MUMEx Trio’s release Folds of Time marries classical, jazz, and world music influences into a potent and intelligent blend. The three individuals bringing their talents together for this collection are Louis Siciliano on piano, Mauro Salvatore on drums, and Bob Bellatalla on double bass. The threesome’s four song EP rejects conventionality for the most part – these are challenging yet rewarding compositions that the musicians bring their very best to without ever rendering the material inaccessible for casual listeners.
The trio’s melding of jazz, world, and classical strands into a single coherent thread illustrates their gifts. “Traveling with Wayne” begins on a distinctly experimental note with free-form jazz. The near-spectral percussion lingering in the background and hints of classical textures coming out of the track’s first half is demanding, yet essential, listening. It segues into a much more traditional jazz style, but the earlier freeform tendencies remain in evidence throughout. It is the longest track on the collection clocking in at near thirteen minutes but never tests your patience.
“La Roue De La Fortune” is an excellent follow-up but has a much smaller scope. Inching past the three and a half minute mark is an interesting response to the near thirteen minutes of the opener, but Salvatore, Siciliano, and Bellatalla prove as gifted with smaller pieces as they are with larger works. The rhythm section is especially potent during “La Roue De La Fortune” and the bluesy threads present in Siciliano’s piano give it unexpected flavor.
The title song “Folds of Time” aspires, like “Traveling with Wayne”, towards incorporating the full breadth of their abilities. The trio cycles through the full gamut of the trio’s musical styles without ever sounding self-imitative. They possess enough ideas to justify the length of this song and the opener, but it is not the most impressive side of this track. Many listeners will appreciate their ability to demonstrate such serious intent without ever lapsing into pretentiousness.
MUMEx Trio closes Folds of Time with “The Legend of Mansa”. It begins on a surprisingly elegiac note, but they don’t linger here for long. It is nearly ten minutes long. Do not let this mislead you, however – the two long tracks preceding it have served notice these three musicians are more than capable of filling a larger canvas. They are far from exhausted here. Many jazz devotees will be taken with their nods towards bop, but the array of influences they call upon are diverse.
The musicians involved are committed to developing MUMEx Trio and there’s obviously ample room for growth. Few, if any, listeners will come away from this four song release uncertain if they can build on Folds of Time’s accomplishments. It won’t be everyone’s cup of tea – if you prefer music with more dependable structure and predictability, MUMEx Trio’s music isn’t for you. It’s impossible, however, to come away from the release failing to recognize their talents. There isn’t anything these musicians can’t do and Folds of Time suggest they’ve just started building a legacy.