Jan Roder: doule bass
Michael Griener: drums
Taiko Saito : vibraphone
Saito/Roder/Griener trio is a freely improvising trio consisting of Taiko Saito on vibraphone, Jan Roder on double bass and Michael Griener on drums.
As part of a concert series in which Michael Griener and Jan Roder presented themselves both with existing bands and with first encounters in Berlin’s Au Topsi Pohl, Taiko Saito appeared on a public stage for the first time in November 2021 with just bass and drums.
The music they created together allowed all three to express facets of their musical personalities that had rarely been revealed before.
The concert is documented on a CD on Trouble In The East Records.
Bill Meyer in Dusted magazine
Free improvisation may be a creative space where an instrument’s baggage can be dropped, but this is easier for some than others. Given its limited and highly distinct sound, the vibraphone’s particularly hard to untether from expectation, but Taiko Saito gives it her best shot on WALD. The Sapporo-born, Berlin-based mallet-wielder, who has worked at length with Silke Eberhard and Satoko Fujii, does not totally play against expectation, but she does keep her instrument’s stylistic mandates at bay by shifting between time and no time, swing and no swing, and steering a middle course between the big wall of sound you might expect from, say, Jason Adasiewicz, and the bebop-derived suppression of resonance pursued by an earlier resonance. This CD documents her first encounter with bassist Jan Roder and drummer Michael Griener, who constitute Die Enttäuschung’s rhythm section, and that association will tell you more about their commitment to the moment than what they actually play. Each of the album’s four spontaneously realized tracks is a world unto itself in which chaos is courted, swing cultivated, or slipstreams ridden. These are woods to get lost in.
Peter Margasak on Nowhere Street
On Sunday, July 2 she (Taiko Saito) will play a solo piece as part of a concert at the spectacular Kaiser-Wilhelm-Gedächtniskirche, where the bulk of the program will feature her excellent improvising trio WALD, with bassist Jan Roder and drummer Michael Griener—the current rhythm section of Die Enttäuschung. The group has just released its eponymous debut recording, made live at the sorely missed Au Topsi Pohl in November of 2021. The album demonstrates an impressive connection on four pieces created on the spot. Saito sticks exclusively to vibraphone here, but her versatility and non-jazz ideas give the music plenty of spark. The rhythm section allows the music to breathe, toggling between swinging passages and sections that focus on pure sound. On the opening track “Ghosts of the Midnight Wood,” which you can listen to below, the music keeps contracting and expanding—players drop out, letting someone pursue an individual thread for a couple of minutes, before the others join back in, pushing the performance in a new direction. Griener is propulsive, but he still attacks his crash cymbal here and there to inject shots of dissonance and chaos, adding delicious tension to already jagged lines unspooled by Saito.
Unlike many other vibists, who produce liquid swells to erase any silence or to generate harmonic possibilities for her cohorts, Saito generally adopts a more percussive attack, which fits perfectly with Griener and the more pointillistic side of Roder’s playing. Elsewhere, as on a piece like “Hoarfrost Tree” there’s an enhanced focus on sound, as bowed lines from the musicians mewl, rumble, and vibrate in striated layers of quietude at the outset, carrying on for more than three minutes before the temperature is raised and the levitating intensity ramps up. I honestly haven’t really heard a vibraphone trio operate like this one does.
Nowhere Street at substack.com