Taking the group name from a venerable Coleman Hawkins recording, Disorder at the Border is also a sly reference to the two countries involved. Considering that these areas share a similar history, and pre-First World War were both part of the Austro-Hungarian Empire, means that there’s more arrangement than disorder in these performances. Attacking the tunes with the sort of vigor the Austrian army should have shown in 1914, the three pile colors and textures onto Coleman’s basic structures. Consistent throughout are D’Agaro’s sharp reed bites and Kaučič’s rhythmic strokes.
Meanwhile Maier, who has played with everyone from trombonist Sebi Tramontana to tenor saxophonist Daniele Cavallanti, varies his bass line according to the situation. His sleight-of-hand moves from harsh string-stropping to cubist-like resonating whorls and patterns elsewhere. With the cumulative strength of a tank battalion rolling towards a fortress, the usual intersection of rugged saxophone honks, bump-and-grind percussion whacks and tremolo string pulsing perfectly defines Coleman’s speedier numbers, while the performance also dusts them with unique Italo-Slovenian colors.
But the linked mind-set and cumulative interpretative sensitivity works just as well if the trio recreates a ballad such as “Faithful”. As D’Agaro emotionally outlines that wistful theme on clarinet, it’s dissected with equal seriousness by the bassist’s well-shaped note interpolations. Like a mediator bringing together two opposing sides in a dispute, Kaučič’s dynamic patterning pushes the sides into a consistent narrative. In contrast, the subsequent astringent “The Garden of Souls” is given added resonance from the tenor saxophonist’s high-pitched slurs and shakes, surmounting double bass string rubs and cymbal snaps. “Comme Il Faut” perfectly defines both the bluster and blues-base of Coleman’s background.
D’Agaro’s a capella introduction manages to reference spirituals as well as spirituality. And its conclusion is a distinctive blues snort. The piece’s basic ambulatory shape is then satisfactorily embellished with Maier’s bass shuffles, culminating in a resonating thump, and a march beat from the drummer, martial enough to reference a military campaign.
(Ken Waxman, Jazzword.com, November 21, 2016)