Chirps, Squeaks, Honks and Explosions

Sunday morning and the Ojai Music Festival’s Libbey bowl came to life with the music of The Trio. Muhal Richard Abrams, Roscoe Mitchell and George Lewis have collaborated in various musical settings since the founding of the Association for the Advancement of Creative Musicians. Their Trio is probably the purest expression of their notions of the essence and function of music as defined in a broadly encompassing definition, free of the limitations of most accepted notions, and deeply rooted in improvisation. Just as John Cage pushed boundaries and considered “noises” an integral part of music, so do these three veterans of the so-called free jazz movement go beyond written notes in the pursuit of something original that audiences can connect with. Roscoe Mitchell’s reeds made sounds that went way beyond jazz or any other kind of music, while Mr. Lewis added electronic ambient sounds and trombone solo flights. Mr. Abrams interjected huge chords and lush solos at what seemed like just the right moments. Completely improvised, it made for very different and original music, just the sort of thing audiences attend the OMF to experience.