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British-born bassist Dave Holland, Indian tabla master Zakir Hussain and New York-based saxophonist Chris Potter unofficially launched their Crosscurrents Trio in 2018 with concerts at the Istanbul Jazz Festival and elsewhere. The intergenerational group — Potter is 20 years younger than Hussain, who’s five years younger than Holland — is aptly named. The music on their debut recording seamlessly blends Western jazz grooves and harmonies with Eastern rhythms and percussion textures, a subtle exploration of the touch points between two seemingly disparate traditions. Not surprisingly, given the high-caliber musicianship, the session is all about communal interplay, with leadership variously shifting among the three players.
Each receives composer credits, individually, for the various tunes, although they have the feel of being heavily improvised. On Potter’s “Ziandi,” the opener, his tenor spins lean start-stop lines, and he tosses in a brief quote of “Peanut Vendor” before dropping out to make room for Holland’s lengthy solo. Hussain’s churning tablas drive the groove, and the piece climaxes with repeated unison bass-tenor figures. Potter’s “Island Feeling,” a modified blues, deploys a lilting melody over ambling rhythms, and the spiky “Good Hope” concludes with Hussain’s percussion wizardry against another tenor-bass line.
Potter’s soprano, darting over and through his bandmates’ grooves, changes up the sound on Holland’s sprawling, nearly 11-minute “Lucky Seven,” and also amplifies the shadows and light created on Holland’s tuneful “Mazad.” Potter, on tenor, cranks up the intensity of Hussain’s “J Bhai,” also a showcase for its composer, and Holland deploys some swerving, string-bending unaccompanied lines on Hussain’s “Suvarna.” A refreshing, off-brand collaboration, Good Hope allows for much inspired playing by three musically simpatico musicians. More please, sirs. — Philip Booth