Patrick Crossland & Alexander Frangenheim: Ape Green [cs243]
It isn’t every day that one runs across a duo of trombone and double bass. Even so, the two instruments’ differences in timbre and overlap of range make them potentially compatible partners. This potential is well-realized in this collection of improvised duets by Patrick Crossland on trombone and Alexander Frangenheim on double bass.
Throughout the set, Crossland and Frangenheim fully explore the richness of sound available to them both collectively and individually. Frangenheim brings out the extensive timbral possibilities inherent in his instrument, plucking, bowing, tapping and rattling until a complete sound profile of the double bass accumulates from his individual gestures. His use of different bow articulations are especially noteworthy, and allow the bass to play interlocutor to Crossland’s expressively vocal-like inflections, which are by turns grousing, inquisitive, lyrical, ruminative and declarative. Each player’s aural space interlocks with the other’s, creating a shared middle ground in which the roles of lead and backing line constantly shift. In the process—which both balances on and grows out of the mutually reinforcing qualities of contrast and likeness–each makes apparent the unique and defining characteristics of his particular voice.
Although the CD is organized into twelve relatively brief tracks, the momentum and continuity are such that, as with a well-written book, it’s hard not to take in the whole in one sitting.