Gordon Grdina Trio goes for a wild and provocative ride on ”¦If Accident Will

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      The Gordon Grdina Trio
      ”¦If Accident Will (Plunge/Warner Music)

      Public service announcement: this is a record for improv connoisseurs, not jazz neophytes. And that’s something Vancouver-based guitarist Gordon Grdina seems to understand, opening ”¦If Accident Will with a pair of tracks that play out like a challenge rather than an invitation.

      Taken together, “The Monk” and “229” seem designed to separate the sheep from the wolves, with the implication being that the fleecy and timid would do well to turn and run. “The Monk” devolves from a fast, spiky head into a passage of frenzied scraping and scrabbling; “229” is essentially “The Monk, Part 2”, it follows a similar path and even clocks in at just four seconds shorter than its predecessor. From a programming point of view, I’d question placing these two tracks back-to-back, but they do serve notice that Grdina, bassist Tommy Babin, and drummer Kenton Loewen are ready to play hard and fast. This is strong, muscular stuff.

      From there, however, the record diversifies. Grdina picks up his oud for “Cobble Hill/Renunciation”, a long and spooky meditation that’s only lightly tinged with Middle Eastern colours. “W.W.T.D.”, which I think means “What Would Tony (Wilson) Do”, is both a bent, gutsy blues number and an apt tribute to Hornby Island’s resident six-string sage. And the final track, “Yellow Spot Into the Sun”, builds from pastel melancholy into a sky-high freak-out that shows off the postrock side of this band’s eclectic skill set.

      Hmm. It might be best to approach this disc backward, but no matter the running order, it’s a wild and provocative ride.

      Download This: “Yellow Spot Into the Sun”