Trumpeter/composer Lina Allemano’s interest in the canon form, in which parts are repeated exactly within a composition, surfaced on her recent quartet CD, Pipe Dream, but here the form appears in various permutations, both in composed works with elements of improvisation and a series of improvisations by BLOOP, Allemano’s duo with Mike Smith contributing live processing and effects. While some playfulness is evident, Allemano’s expressive focus provides reflective balance.
The opening 3 Trumpet Canon introduces a pattern of expanding complexity, one overdubbed trumpet following another until the initiating horn is sputtering a series of barely articulated sounds, the other parts following. There’s more playful creativity with German trombonist Matthias Müller as he and Allemano match wits on the duet of Canon of Sorts, while Bobby’s Canon, with cellist Peggy Lee and clarinetist Brodie West, is elegant chamber music. Butterscones and Twinkle Tones, with frequent collaborators bassist Rob Clutton, synthesist Ryan Driver and guitarist Tim Posgate emphasize collective creativity.
The alternating improvised tracks by BLOOP are highlights, with Allemano’s spontaneous melodies “canonized” and altered in Mike Smith’s electronic repetitions and distortions, whether he’s slowing down the trumpeter’s phrases on Shadows or distorting and muffling her phrases within seconds of Wilds’ outset. On Moons, Smith turns Allemano’s shifting phrases and tonal explorations into a compound canon, while the concluding Ponds is also the richest track, with the keening lyricism of her trumpet lines multiplying in a warm universe.