Phil Grenadier / Bruno Raberg Duo: Plunge (2012)
Trumpeter Phil Grenadier and bassist Bruno Råberg have collaborated for over ten years, including on Råberg's Ascensio (2003) and Chrysalis (2004), both on Orbis Music. For this intimate duo session, Råberg had a different vision: short, immediate and busy improvisations. Soundacapes, most of them were manipulated afterwards with different effects and three were "double duo" improvisations that interacted with first versions of the improvisation. Still, the melodic element invariably surfaces, with Råberg symbolizing this process as a lonely person's inner turmoil of conflicting emotions and despair, in which the melody is the heart and soul that strives to survive.
The nineteen short pieces feature clear, emphatic interplay. The intimate interactions are simple, pure and free from clichés, enabling the duo to articulate its own sound and color. The two shine on one of the two written pieces, Ornette Coleman's classic "Lonely Woman," where Råberg's vision materializes into a nuanced cinematic narrative, performed evocatively. The "double duo" improvisations "Ushas/Quadratic," "Area 51" and "Triangulum"also possess arresting and dramatic storylines, all performed with thoughtful restraint.
The other shorter piece cycles, such as "Five Short Pieces" and, to a lesser degree, "Intersections I-IV," are less successful. These abrupt improvisations end without enabling the sonic interaction to blossom and leave a lasting impression. Only the longer, fifth segment of the "Intersections" cycle, "Being and Time," manages to linger in the mind, maybe due to its straight approach, without any need for effects or manipulations in this detailed musical conversation.
Still, this is a compelling series sounds and shapes.
Track Listing: Reveille; Last Train to Seville; Five Short Pieces: Seiryuu- Azure Dragon, Byakko - White Tiger, Suzaku - Vermillion Bird, Genbu - Black Tortoise, Ouryu - Yellow Dragon; Lonely Woman; Heartwood; Ushas/Quadratic; Intersections I - IV: Part 1 - Moving Cycles, Part 2 - Line and Sphere, Part 3 - Sand Clock, Part 4 - Isomorphic; Area 51; The Outermost Island; Triangulum; Lizrael; Intersections V: Part 5 - Being and Time.
Personnel: Phil Grenadier: trumpet; Bruno Råberg: acoustic bass, sound design.
Record Label: Orbis Music