The pairing of the same or two closely related instruments, when done well, can make the claim of being something like the anti-homeopathy of music. Rather than using like to negate like, as is claimed by homeopathic medicine, the successful duet uses like to enhance like. Each amplifies the effect of each while helping focus the ear on subtle gradations of timbre and, by extension, expressive force.
Ogni Suono, the Cleveland, Ohio saxophone duet of Noa Even and Phil Pierick, opened the 2018 Sonic Circuits DC Festival this past September. Their set was a remarkable, precisely played précis of their album Saxo Voce, a collection of new work they commissioned from several contemporary composers. As its title suggests, Saxo Voce is an album of music for saxophones and voices matched and sorted in a variety of ways. On a piece like Christopher Dietz’s My Manifesto and Me (2016), which alternates recitative and instrumental passages, voice and saxophone occupy distinct spheres that dramatize each other by way of contrast. On Chris Fisher-Lochhead’s Chroma (2017) for two soprano saxophones and voice, the instrumental parts—long lines moving past each other in slow glissandi—lie over a substrate of wordless voices hardly distinguishable from the sounds of the instruments. The serene pace of the work belies its on-edge dissonances, afforded by overtones, multiphonics and microtonal collisions. Ogni Suono’s facility with extended techniques is further demonstrated in Vocalise II (2016) by Felipe Lara, which rushes in with the hissing of air notes and is sustained on the drone of a tenor saxophone accompanied by a parallel, hummed line.
In contrast to the composed and meticulously rehearsed pieces on Saxo Voce, Explicit, a recording made in Piacenza, Italy in October 2014, is a foray into free improvisation by American multi-woodwind artist Vinny Golia and Italian soprano saxophonist Gianni Mimmo. Even so, the sympathy and judiciousness of the interplay make it sound as if it were composed. Golia and Mimmo’s close musical synchronicity is apparent from the very first notes of the opening track and develops further from there. The intricate yet spontaneous coordination of phrasing and dynamics is uncanny, as is Golia and Mimmo’s ability to layer harmonies and even set up cadences on the fly. The longer improvisations are notable for having differentiated but linked sections defined by characteristic tempos, dynamics, thematic material and density of texture: the sound of two voices alone but lacking for nothing.
Mr. T’s Bowl in LA will be the scene for an event:
Vinny Golia Sextet, Slumgum, and Axis Trio
April 15th, 9pm
Mr T’s Bowl
5621 1/2 Figueroa St., Highland Park
A triple bill featuring LA jazz legend, Vinny Golia! A virtuoso improviser on dozens of woodwind instruments, Vinny has been a featured performer with other avant-garde masters such as Anthony Braxton, Bobby Bradford, and John Zorn. At Mr. T’s he will perform with his electric sextet. Expect explosive solos driven by a psychedelic hurricane from the rhythm section!
Slumgum performs original music that is packed with unbridled imagination. A jazz quartet overflowing with spontaneity, their live shows are volatile and pumped with energy. With a rare band dynamic abounding in vitality, their joy on stage is contagious.
The Axis Trio is a drums/bass/rhodes ensemble with roots in Pakistan, Morocco, and Iran. In an intoxicating whirlwind, they consistently push the boundaries of a traditional piano trio. With compositions ranging from dreamlike dirge to blazing groove, their performances are kaleidoscopes of sonic color.
KFJC is on a review kick and just won’t stop!
Zilverhill – “ eotvos ” – [Adept Sound]
Zilverhill is Schuster (Perth, Australia) & pRESENT dAY bUNA (Sheffield UK), two projects that have been collaborating for awhile. Tracks are experimental, electronic and unique. From long droned out meditating waves, to crunchy looped vocal fuzziness. Dark and gloomy, sometimes it feels like you’re in the deep ocean waters. Some bleeps and bloops. Lots of repetitiveness with samples and loops, they seem to like the “phone call”-esque sounding vocals. Shorter tracks have more samples and quirk to them, longer tracks are more mellow and empty outer space sounding.
Lindberg, John / Ragin, Hugh – “Team Work ” – [Cecma]
Unusual pairing of bass and trumpet. Virtuosos Lindberg and Ragin show their spectacular technique in this 1982 recording. Great fun hearing this instrumental combination, made me grin and say “yeah”!
Sun Ra – “Secrets of The Sun ” – [Atavistic (Unheard Music)]
Atavistic’s 2008 re-issue of this little known Sun Ra Saturn recording from the early 1960’s. Ra on piano, sun harp and gong is his usual goofy brilliant self. Other fine “usual suspect” sidemen such as John Gilmore, Marshall Allen, and Ronnie Boykins. I was especially impressed by Calvin Newborn (brother of pianist Phineas Newborn) on guitar on track 1 and 7.
Dolphy, Eric – “Out There ” – [Prestige Records Inc.]
Dolphy’s second album as a leader (1960). Like much of his work, it’s not instantly accessible but gives great rewards to those who stick with it. Some contemplative and slow tracks that are good for quiet moods: 2,4,6,7.
Bradford, Bobby Extet – “Midnight Pacific Airwaves ” – [Entropy Stereo (Mi)]
The first four tracks were recorded KPFK in Los Angeles in April of 1977 with Bradford on cornet, the fine flute of James Newton, and strong contributions from Richard Rehwald on bass and John Goldsmith on drums. Bradford said that since he just played with whoever showed up, he had an extet – X being the unknown in the algebraic sense. Fine improv on all, swinging rendition of the standard Blue Monk.
Coming up at Muse Creative Workspace:
Richmond, VA Saturday, December 6 2008 at 7pm at MUSE CREATIVE WORKSPACE—6N 19th Street.
Tzadik recording artist Christopher Adler and “Metasax” inventor Matthew Burtner meet together for the first time for an exclusive Richmond Muse Creative Workspace performance. The Adler/Burtner “Wired Encounter” will feature computer-mediated improvisations and composed sound art works for piano, saxophone and computers. A $10 donation at the door.
Award winning concert music composers, Adler and Burtner are also widely regarded as virtuosic performers. Among numerous collaborations and recording projects, they have appeared in concerts with improvisers such as Fred Frith, George Lewis, Anthony Davis, Mark Dresser, Vinny Golia, Gustavo Aguilar, Luke DuBois, and Brian Osborn.