MUMEx Trio’s four song collection Folds of Time goes where few other musicians or bands can follow. It, likewise, should confound some cliches. Many believe that trained musicians with significant time studying and practicing their craft often play precisely but without passion, thinking too much, feeling too little. Louis Siciliano, Mauro Salvatore, and Bob Bellatalla’s first foray together as MUMEx Trio will not be their last and you hear huge evidence of their commitment scattered across its four songs.
Three of them are longer than you might expect. The musicians clearly aren’t afraid of taking on lofty goals as “Traveling with Wayne”, a likely tribute to legendary musician Wayne Shorter, extends well past the ten minute mark. They thankfully rarely pursue a single path for very long, however, and reveal the full extent of their influences through a succession of stylistic shifts. It opens with a fusion-like section that Mauro Salvatore’s drumming is the key for. His understated percussion during these opening minutes sets a tone for everything that follows.
They move into jazzy parts during the middle and second half of the track, but the daring we hear during the kickoff is never far away. It’s a testament to their talents that they change gears with such skill and they achieve a full, well-rounded sound despite the presence of only three musicians. “La Roue De La Fortune” doesn’t stretch out like other tracks. The condensed and straight-forward approach they take for this song sounds totally part of the overall whole rather than standing out as incongruous. It leads the way as far as exerting popular appeal for listeners.
“Folds of Time” careens through an assortment of tempos and time signatures without ever losing listener’s attention. The dynamics driving this track take many different directions, raucous giving way to restive, direct lapsing into discursive, but the musicians keep a firm grip on the material. You can’t help but be impressed by the ambition here. Projects such as this are often ballyhooed without ever sounding like much more a collection of virtuosos pretending to be a band. MUMEx Trio has audible chemistry from the first time you hear these songs.
The closer “The Legend of Mansa” is a dose of rambunctious freeform jazz with additional textures surfacing as well. You’ll hear scattered scat vocals buried in the mix, but it isn’t a throwaway addition. This little touch brings added momentum to the piece. They make a lot of these seemingly small moments matter for listeners and the close of Folds of Time has many of the same strengths helping the other long tracks standout.
It’s easy to expect they will continue writing and recording as an unit. Folds of Time has audacity that you rarely hear nowadays, but there’s further room to grow. This trio imposes no limits on themselves and has the skill to take their material anywhere they like. It’s a release that will help build a following for their work that they will only expand with any new releases.