Slovenian pianist, Kaja Draksler, has come a long way in a short amount of time. Ms. Draksler moved to the Netherlands 10 years ago and has kept busy collaborating with a handful of European musicians: Ab Baars, Susana Santos Silva and Eve Risser. More recently, Ms. Draksler organized an octet, whose 2 CD set on the Clean Feed label is one of last year's best under-recognized treasures. Earlier this year, Ms. Draksler was part of a trio with Ab Baars (saxes)and Joe Williamson (bass), with a CD on Relative Pitch. Ms. Draksler's own trio features Petter Eldh on bass, who has worked with Django Bates & Peter Evans, and the ubiquitous, Christian Lillinger on drums, an in-demand percussionistic who has appeared on some 30+ releases so far.
Right from the beginning. there is several layers of lines moving around one another. While the bass and drums erupt tightly together, starting and stopping, Ms. Draksler adds spurts of notes in ever-changing sequences. Bassist Petter Eldh, is often at the center of the storm here, spinning out quick, intense lines while the piano and drums take their time to flourish the slower, more suspended filled counterpoints. What is most usually here is that Ms. Draksler only wrote one piece here, while Mr. Lillinger wrote five and Mr. Eldh wrote three. Many of these pieces are well-written, and have some complex twists and turns. There also some lyrical passages where Ms. Draksler plays these sweeping waves, the the rhythm team locking into the flow, speeding up and slowing down always as one force. This is an outstanding effort and one of the best piano trio discs I've heard in recent times. (Bruce Lee Gallanter, Downtown Music Gallery, November 16th, 2018)