Sputnik Trio is the temporary autonomous zone where alto saxophonist Ricardo Tejero, bassist Marco Serrato, and percussionist Borja Díaz meet from time to time. Their self-titled debut album was recorded in 2013; that was followed by "Live Betrayal" in 2016 and "What The Hate" in 2021. They have also released two albums as a quartet with saxophonist Colin Webster, "Spain Is The Place" and "Matadero".
"Time Hunt" seems to derive its title from ‘Time Hunters’, the final track on "What The Hate". That piece was a 16-minute abstract drone, Serrato’s bass groaning like a wooden ship’s hold as Díaz’s cymbals hissed and air seemed to escape Tejero’s horn on its own. This album
goes in a different direction; it’s Sputnik Trio’s most conventionally swinging release to date.
The first piece, ‘Bird of Pray’, begins with gently dancing cymbal triplets and deep bass booms, as the saxophone drifts in. Tejero plays a slow and reverent melody that gradually increases in intensity until it’s a mournful cry. ‘Will Be Back’, introduced by a bowed bass line, has a fitful stop-start energy and a hypnotic, singsong melody with a keening, Middle Eastern quality. ‘Headless Walk’ fades in like it’s already been going on for hours, a cool blues shuffle that allows Tejero to wander as far as the spirit will take him. On the shortest track, ‘Tar or Cox’,
Serrato plays a Jimmy Garrison-esque strummed line as the sax spits out rough, incantatory lines. It all ends with the almost hymnlike ‘Three Times Ura’, bringing the listener gently down to earth.
The members of Sputnik Trio speak the language of free jazz, but they understand it’s not always necessary to scream and shout. Time Hunt is a thoughtful, emotionally resonant album that welcomes you in and feels like home.
PHIL FREEMAN (Burning Ambulance, The Wire, Stereogum; author of "Ugly Beauty: Jazz in the 21st Century")
released February 4, 2022
1. Bird Of Pray (Tejero; 11:12)
2. Will Be Back (Serrato; 5:12)
3. Headless Walk (Tejero, Serrato, Díaz; 9:52)
4. Tar Or Cox (Tejero, Serrato, Díaz; 3:47)
5. Three Times Ura (Díaz; 5:11)