Guillermo Gregorio & Paul Giallorenzo: Multiverse [PM17]
Clarinetist Guillermo Gregorio and pianist Paul Giallorenzo’s Multiverse reads like an extended eight-movement, free-ranging sonata for clarinet and piano. The eight tracks, with their fluid, spontaneous harmonies, cohere into a narrative whole marked by shifting colors of mood and dynamics.
Overall, the recording sounds like an improvised chamber composition rooted in a flexible pantonality. The harmonies don’t follow a cyclical progression or any other kind of predictable scheme but instead come into and go out of existence as well-prepared chance meetings of the two instruments.
Multiverse opens with the aptly named Out the Gate, a brief, energetic mutual chase. Allegro is followed by adagio as the CD continues with the reflective Omniverse, notable for the clarinet’s jagged leaps of register. Mountain Scale features a call-and-response with the piano echoing the clarinet’s phrasing, the phrases gradually growing shorter and more frenetic until winding down at the end. Stomps, which has Giallorenzo playing prepared piano, pairs staccato, metallic-tinged piano parts with long clarinet tones. Sub Serial begins with plaintive clarinet over sparse piano; this is followed by the contrast of the title track’s rapid pointillism. The slowly-unfolding Spartan Prep provides further contrast, after which the CD closes with To and Fro, a subtly rhythmic, evenly-pulsed piece that makes engaging allusions to swing.
This is chamber improvisation at its best, intelligently played and crisply recorded.