Steve Tromans & Mark Sanders: Mountains, Meditations, Murmurations

Drummer Sanders and pianist Troman demonstrate empathy and sensitivity in improvisations that range from the turbulent and reflective


I first saw drummer Mark Sanders “live” with various Evan Parker projects back in the mid to late 80s and was immediately impressed with his combination of power and precision and the way he achieved a multiplicity of textures and effects with, often, a kit that was as basic and economical as John Stevens’s.

He can also be an extremely subtle and responsive player, a characteristic on display through much of this project with Tromans, a musician and composer with a wide range of interests from Charles Ives to Frank Zappa.

This is not the first time Tromans and Sanders have worked together and their improvisations here often suggest that they are inside each other’s heads, so intuitive and instinctive is their interaction. But then that’s just what such excellent improvisers do.

For me the highlight is the 12½ minute Golden Mountain, a beautiful piece with echoes of traditional Japanese music, where Tromans produces some of his most delicate and beguiling work, but all the tracks command proper attention. The Murmurations are generally the most turbulent and ominous pieces, whilst the Meditations are more reflective, as you might expect.

Silver Mountain is even more meditative and tender to begin with but gradually builds to a more intense climax, yet still never abandons control and restraint. It’s one of those sets where each hearing reveals more elusive details.

First Murmuration; First Meditation; Second Murmuration; Second Meditation; Golden Mountain; Third Murmuration; Silver Mountain; Third Meditation (56.30)
Tromans (p); Sanders (d, pc). Birmingham, 22 November 2022.
Discus 157 CD