Few new acts can claim to be as intelligent and skilled as MUMEx Trio. Piano player Louis Siciliano, Bob Bellatalla’s unique double bass playing, and drummer Mauro Salvatore mesh together with rare and virtually instant chemistry. “Traveling with Wayne” opens the release showing off their jazz chops though there’s a lot of evidence for their classical prowess as well.
It’s their envelope-pushing side that intrigues me most. There’s a lot of space present in Folds of Time’s longer songs, “Traveling with Wayne” runs almost thirteen minutes long, and they expand the dynamic dimensions of the material. The pensive nature presiding over important passages in this song stands apart from what follows and leading with it is a bold move. It’s natural, perhaps, that listeners may balk at the duration, but I assure you that it’s never a tiring listen.
“La Roue De La Fortune” should be scintillating in live performance. Let’s hope they get the opportunity. It’s a much shorter tune than the other three. MUMEx Trio doesn’t short shrift listeners, however, and the three and a half minute long cut packs the same sort of wallop we hear with the longer songs, albeit manifested differently. They move into firmer jazz terrain here, but their other influences continue shining through.
“Folds of Time” is the zenith of the release for me. This long track explores a wide range of sonic territory within the band’s sphere – there’s jazz and classical nods galore littered throughout the song. It has a much fiery temperament than the other songs, though the composition is careful to never go too far. A new outfit emerging with such a wide musical vision is rare and they attack this title track with supreme confidence.
“The Legend of Mansa” is the final track and another song with a far reach. Siciliano’s piano playing unleashes a dazzling array of runs, without question, but it’s Salvatore’s extended drum break deep into the track that hits pay dirt for me. The production does an outstanding job of capturing a strong percussion sound – it’s physical without ever overwhelming listeners. Closing this release with another lengthy track bookends the release perfectly.
It isn’t a collection, however, that will appeal to everyone. MUMEx Trio are happy to upend listener’s expectations, usually not the purview of popular music, but they keep things familiar for listeners. You won’t be a stranger in a strange land with this work. They’ve written and recorded a durable release with Folds of Time that holds boundless promise for the future.
It’s an even bolder move to release such music in 2022. I cheer on artists still out there willing to take chances with their passions, never expecting material reward, and Folds of Time is a great example of that. They’ve written and recorded this release for themselves, first and foremost, but their talents are such that they carry listeners along with them. Let’s hope they follow this up soon with an even longer release as greater or greater than Folds of Time.