Recording sessions can sometimes be unruly beasts and the girth and breadth of music created does not always fit comfortably into the pre-planned parameters of studio time. Extra material in the way of alternate takes and additional tunes are the common outcome of a session that eclipses its originally hatched upon boundaries. Very often this grist is deemed of lesser quality or importance than the principal material gleaned from the date, but sometimes the additional music is every bit as worthy as that chosen for initial release. Such is definitely the case here where these four sagely improvisers ended up crafting far more music that originally expected. To our benefit as listeners the proprietors of the Spirit Room, where the session was taped, were more than willing to keep the tapes rolling.
In the Spirit, the initial album culled from the session showcased a heavy spiritual emphasis both in terms of repertoire and delivery. This second disc, far from being a collection of castoffs and alternates, is on the same level as its predecessor, though it admittedly slips a shade in comparison due to the truncated nature of several of the pieces. Spiritual and the soulful matters are still prominently in mind as the twining reeds of McPhee and Giardullo knit a bittersweet shawl of sentiment across the pulsing strings of the bassists. Only three of the pieces feature the complete quartet with the majority parsing the group down into duo and trio combinations. McPhee sticks mainly to soprano during the program though his unaccredited tenor does crop up on the title track. The most intriguing moments arrive when his straight horn is juxtaposed with Giardullo’s velvety bass clarinet as on the opening track. “Deep River” clears a solemn path through the verdant thicket of traditional African American song paving the way for the more free-form dialogue that follows on “Deep Sheep” between McPhee and Duval. “Deep Sleep,” a finger flexing duo piece forwarded by Duval and Bisio, allows the bassists intimate time together in the absence of the reeds. “Ferocious Beauty,” a trio piece dedicated to the memory of fiery reedman Glenn Spearman is the most frenetically-charged track on the disc and Giardullo sounds positively possessed blowing smoldering sheets of sound from his soprano as the Bisio thumps and rumbles underneath.Those folks who have already imbibed the intoxicating sounds of In the Spirit will definitely want to check out this second round from the well. Listeners who haven’t yet heard either are strongly advised to acquire both and set aside a secluded pair of hours free from worldly distractions to drink this glorious music in.
Tracks:Deep River/ Deep Sheep/ Nancy/ No Greater Love/ Strangers In a Strange Land/ Ferocious Beauty/ Deep Sleep/ Get That Name/ We Just Think It.
Players:Joe McPhee- soprano saxophone; Joe Giardullo- bass clarinet, soprano saxophone; Michael Bisio- bass; Dominic Duval- bass.
Recorded: March 17 & 18, 1999, Rossie, NY.
CIMP recordings are available directly through North Country Distributors: http://www.cadencebuilding.com