Auand: A Matter of Trust
Often Binney has favored larger ensembles with many different instruments, but here he engages in an intense conversation with drummer Jeff Hirshfield, who proves to be the perfect partner for his melodic improvisations, adding an intuitive response to his ideas and yet, at the same time, managing to create a rhythmic framework around the more free flowing lines of the saxophonist. Wayne Shorter's "Dolores" establishes the link with tradition from the beginning and the folksong "Mallari" juxtaposes a mythological layer to his vocabulary, but all the rest of the compositions are written by Binney whose use of electronics expands the music. On "The Mystery of Influence" liquid sounds colorizes the background and lays a misty shroud around the searching tones of the saxophone. Elsewhere, the raw live sound of "Left" provides a nice contrast to the more polished sound of the rest of the record. Thus, A Small Madness gives the full picture of Binney as an artist, providing an intimate view of the saxophonist as live improviser, sound sculptor and composer.
Giancarlo Tossani Synapser
Beauty Is a Rare Thing
As the record of David Binney proves, Auand often prefers a musical setting that lies outside the obvious. The classic combination of instruments like piano, bass, drums and horn in the most established formats; trio and quartet, is often challenged by the label, which favours a more adventurous approach to a musical working unit. However, Giancarlo Tossani Synapser's Beauty Is a Rare Thing is the exception that proves the rule. On paper, the quartet of pianist Giancarlo Tossani, saxophonist Achille Succi, who also plays the bass clarinet, bassist Tito Mangialajo Rantzer and Cristiano Calcagnile on drums may look like a traditional working unit, but like all other artists on the Auand label they stretch the understanding of the sound of jazz while still remaining true to tradition. The title, Beauty Is a Rare Thing, is taken from Ornette Coleman's composition of the same name, a tune that also finds its way on the album. With lyrical gentleness and empathic understanding of silence and spatiality that is characteristic of the album as whole, the quartet revisits Coleman's composition, retaining the perfect balance between subtle melodic threads and pure sound. On the other hand, "Early food musics" shows the capability of the band to create a solid groove, which gives plenty of room for Succi's passionate playing. "Fluxlux" introduces an intricate piano figure reminiscent of Herbie Hancock that dissolves into a carefully controlled stream of sound where Tossani broadens the palette of his instrument: hammering, and whispering. The quartet sings that rare song of beauty, which Coleman captured himself, revisiting and broadening avant-garde tradition.
It's Mostly Residual
Beauty is also present in the music of trumpeter Cuong Vu but on It's Mostly Residual it is a beauty that comes with a threatening darkness and dramatic shades. The music moves into the territory of art rock and heavy metal, changing between lyrical introspection and mind-blowing walls of noise with guitarist Bill Frisell tearing the structures of the music apart with violent screeches and screams, but also giving samples of his trademark reverb-drenched sound. In the middle of it all is the leader whose ethereal, long-drawn lines lies like mist on a mountain top while occasionally piercing through the wall of sound with crystalline sharpness. There's an orchestral grandeur about Vu's compositions that spans the elegiac title number, the apocalyptic mood of "Expressions of a Neurotic Impulse" and the chaotic free funk of "Brittle, Like Twigs" with the driving rhythm of electric bassist Stomu Takeishi and drummer Ted Poor. It's impressive how the four musicians are able to make so much sound without resorting to the sheer violence of loudness. Instead, the group creates order in chaos and paints on a large canvas of melody and noise with several nuances of grey, black and white, altogether forming an ambitiously conceived circle of compositions.