Karl Berger trio with Joe Fonda and Harvey Sorgen
[founded in 2015]
Gently Unfamiliar is a series of seven movements for piano trio in which Berger is joined by longtime confrere drummer Harvey Sorgen and a recent collaborator in bassist Joe Fonda. The bright eddies and atonal rivulets one associates with Berger’s vibraphone playing are evident on the piano as well, making clear that this music is predicated on personality rather than specific tools. Sorgen is an allover, brushy player in the vein of Paul Motian and Billy Elgart while Fonda’s spry and meaty pizzicato propels the trio through languid pastorals and terse footfalls. Gently Familiar has a different thrust than some of Berger’s earlier records—it’s somber and atmospheric, though Berger’s bunched clamber does have a tendency to polish the corners with bluesy rhapsodic fragments.