Both of the recordings I’ve heard by Argentinean trumpeter Leonel Kaplan have found him in the company of other trumpeters, an unusual context even for a guy, like collaborators Axel Dörner (Berlin) and Nate Wooley (New York), who’s committed to expanding the tonal palette of his instrument. The trumpet’s sharp, clarion tone isn’t very agreeable to the sort of textural acrobatics a saxophone can accomplish—split tones, multiphonics, tongue popping, upper register screams—but Kaplan is the latest in a growing line of players determined to manipulate the instrument anyway. (Birgit Ulher, a German trumpeter, is yet another radical, and she plays in town several times this coming weekend.)
I haven’t heard any of Kaplan's solo work, which includes a new version of Reveille recorded for an exhibition at the Renaissance Society last spring, so I can’t say for sure what he contributes in a group setting. But on the eponymous outing by Silo—with Wooley, cellist Audrey Chen, and James Webster on traditional Maori instruments—there’s lots of fluttery hisses, puckered and parched blubbering, high frequencies whinnies, and muted percussive clicks. The pieces are striated sound masses—highlighting individual components is clearly not a concern—and in that regard Kaplan seems to be an inspired participant. On Absence (Creative Sources), a 2003 recording made in Buenos Aires with Dörner and percussionist Diego Chamy, the sound is rumbling and flatulent, with a focus on unpitched breathing and low-end gurgling. Splatters of familiar trumpet sounds emerge here and there, but for the most part conventional tonality is ditched. The goal is finding new ways of shaping sound with valves and embouchure to create a common language with Chamy’s metallic scraping.
Kaplan performs tomorrow night at the Renaissance Society with Chicago clarinetist Guillermo Gregorio—a native of Argentina—and on Thursday with cellist Fred Lonberg-Holm, sharing the bill with Wooley and the brilliant drummer Paul Lytton, at Elastic.
Cascabulho, E Caco de Vidro Puro (Atracao)
Clinic, Visitations (Domino)
Lars-Göran Ulander Trio, Live at Glenn Miller Café (Ayler)
Tord Gustavsen Trio, Being There (ECM)
Pete Brown, 1942-1945 (Chronological Classics)