Way Out Northwest (UK/BC)
When considering the remarkable London saxophonist John Butcher, one tends not to think of conventional saxophone-bass-drums combinations associated with free jazz. His deep research into the timbral extremes of his instruments serve musical ends that complicate the simple sound hierarchies the combination suggests. And this trio, celebrating its 10th anniversary, succeeds due to the sympathy of his partners, Vancouver’s Torsten Müller (bass) and Dylan van der Schyff (drums), who share this approach. Like the trio’s namesake, the Sonny Rollins classic, Way Out West, they combine an utterly distinctive saxophonist from the east (if the Greenwich time zone is to be considered ‘east’) with a brilliant left-coast bass-drum pair. Likewise, it amounts to a fully achieved trio music based on sensitive group rapport and sheer musical imagination.