From Massachusetts improvisers Nathan Blehar (tenor and soprano saxophones) and Tony Falco (drums) two albums–all of that…just for this, released in July, and Soil, released in August—are the most recent in a series of releases documenting their long-standing collaboration. Each album contains four saxophone-and-drums improvisations of an exceptional lyricism. Given the potential freedom of the form, saxophone and drum duets often fall into an unbridled expressionism; where Blehar and Falco differ is in their willingness to impose self-restraint when subtleties of mood, and the overall development of an improvisation, call for it. Blehar’s work with saxophone demonstrates a song-like sensibility; his improvisations hold to a center while spinning off notes in a way that explores harmonic flexibility while maintaining a coherent melodic profile. His sound on soprano is refined and compelling; listeners might also want to check out April’s A Shared Image, in which Blehar plays soprano on all three tracks. On all of these albums, Falco provides support with a sympathetic groundswell of drumming that keeps moving forward, powered by a pulse played over and under imaginary barlines. Falco’s solos are notable for the way he states themes and then spreads variations across snare, toms, and cymbals.
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