Tiger Trio is Joëlle Léandre (double bass), Nicole Mitchell (flute) and Myra Melford (piano). Map Of Liberation follows Unleashed, released in 2016 on the same label. The recordings for these eleven tracks took place in Paris and Strasbourg, November 2018. Taken as a whole, they provide a broad perspective of the protagonists’ creative vitality, highlighting voluble dynamics and acoustic moods while confirming renowned individual qualities.

Despite the group’s denomination, the overall sound is neither ferocious nor overly aggressive, except for a few energy discharges scattered around the program. If anything, we could describe it as “acute intelligence under control”, insofar as one can detect the awareness of the expressive self placed at the service of the contrapuntal infrastructure. The articulate virtuosity at play is transmitted by each and every particle of what is heard. A listener’s challenge lies in taking instant notes of specific events within parallelisms not exactly straightforward in design. Timbral accretions of variable descent are frequently aided by the use of peculiar approaches to the respective instruments, exploited down to the tiniest components.

During our initial experience with the CD we merely managed to extract bits of information from spiky melodic fragments pirouetting across the cyclonic areas of instrumental superimposition. With subsequent attempts, the memory recognizes what at first had remained partially camouflaged among the folds of the musicians’ interconnectivity; the collective harmony — which includes the receiver — materializes in full right then and there.

It is undoubtedly high-level improvisation, music not so much “liberated” as turbulently chamberesque. Sometimes one of the performers begins alone, allowing herself instants of reflection; next, the instinct of the moment prevails, fusing with that of partners willing to buttress the introductory pensiveness. The balance between complexity and wider spaces is always maintained, this being perhaps the disc’s greatest achievement. However, genuine gratification emerges only by setting aside quality time for repeated spins, removing ourselves from the daily routine. Basically, letting Tiger Trio become a tiger balm against the pain created by the noise of others.