The newest two offerings from Amirani Records, the label curated by Gianni Mimmo, find the Milanese soprano saxophonist in two very different settings.
The first is a duet with Sicilian saxophonist Pierfrancesco Mucari, who plays soprano, alto, and prepared saxophone, as well as the marranzano, a Sicilian jaw harp. Mimmo is no stranger to the unusual format of the saxophone duet, and here as on his earlier collaborations with saxophonist Harri Sjöström, he demonstrates how two similarly pitched and timbrally closely related instruments can create a music of noticeable differences. His and Mucari’s voices in this series of improvisations are readily distinguishable; Mimmo, who often favors a kind of musical cubism based on repeated melodic fragments, pushes the style to contrast it with Mucari, who tends to weave a longer and more sinuous line. Although this appears to be Mimmo and Mucari’s first collaboration, at least on record, there’s an almost telepathic rapport between them, as they double each other’s lines, complete each other’s phrases, and provide counterpoint and harmonies nimbly assembled in real time. The music is complemented by an illuminating liner note from Ettore Garzia.
Mimmo also appears on Transient, the second release from the superb trio Clairvoyance, which in addition to Mimmo includes the Sardinian duo of pianist/toy pianist Silvia Corda and double bassist Adriano Orrù. The album is a relatively short, LP-length set of forceful improvisations. Although the performances are energetic, they don’t cross the line into chaos, largely because each player leavens the whole with his or her sense of structural constraints and coherence. As she has with this trio in the past, Corda often provides an overall framework constructed of patterned chords and regular rhythms, most notably on the track Shinjuku. Mimmo alternates between a free lyricism and—as on the set of duets with Mucari—an elaborate cubism in which he arranges and rearranges handfuls of notes to give the audio equivalent of a view from every possible angle. Orrù underpins it all with darting pizzicato lines and judiciously applied extended techniques with fingers and bow. This is a group that can balance a restless impressionism, as on the track Rippling Lake, with the fortissimo collision of overblown saxophone and double-bass-reinforced, lower register piano that defines the track Talking at Crazy Angles. A stimulating synthesis of intelligence and intensity.