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MUMEx Trio’s “Folds of Time” LP

MUMEx Trio’s Folds of Time is not your standard pop music fare. Pianist Louis Siciliano, drummer Mauro Salvatore, and double-bassist Bob Bellatalla’s four song collection may seem like a brief release on first inspection, but the 10+ minute running time of two tracks alongside one over nine minutes shows, without question, MUMEx Trio has ambition to burn.

I’m happy to report their skill backs it up. These three musicians invoke classical, world, and jazz motifs with equal facility without ever sounding too reverential. Experienced jazz fans will recognize an assortment of influences in the trio’s music while I believe even those not especially well-versed in jazz will recognize how MUMEx Trio reinvigorates some of the genre’s long-standing tropes.

You can hear the collision of classical and jazz in their music most clearly during its opener. “Traveling with Wayne” does a little bit of everything; it focuses on the classical strands of the composition before shifting over to the jazzier side of the spectrum while, as well, creating space where the musicians can thread these seemingly disparate lines into an intelligent and coherent greater whole. I am a particular fan of their wont for leaving space in their music; utilizing silence in a thoughtful way widens the EP’s dynamic range.

The second song “La Roue De La Fortune” is, arguably, the most accessible cut included on the release. It’s much more of a solidly jazz orientated track than its predecessor and much shorter, barely clearing the three minute thirty second mark. Mauro Salvatore’s inventive drumming guides much of the performance and his engine room partner, bassist Bob Bellatalla, distinguishes himself as well.

“Folds of Time” returns to territory the three piece covered during the opener. MUMEx Trio expands upon those ambitions some, however, by emphasizing the importance of space much more than before. There’s an undeniable progressive or fusion-inspired spirit working deep within these tracks but, once more, the musicians deserve plaudits for never cutting music that soars over listener’s heads. It may be many things, but self-indulgent isn’t one of them.

They end Folds of Time with another expansive piece entitled “The Legend of Mansa”. The trio concludes the collection in much the same way it begins. It’s a final excellent balance of classical and jazz with the latter, again, prevailing as the dominant influence. The three long tracks written and recorded for Folds of Time exhibit consideration and a level of refinement missing from the vast majority of pop music out there today.

It is not the front lines of a war, however. Pop music offers listeners a valid experience, without a doubt, it just differs from what MUMEx Trio offers us with Folds of Time. I’m taken with the sophistication, intelligence, and surprising accessibility of these compositions; the trio have struck upon an unique musical blend that no one else serves up today. It is not pretentious, either, but giving it a facile listen will never be sufficient for enjoying its riches. They are deep and abundant.

Mindy McCall

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