Rudi Records: Reviving the Avant-garde
The musicians highlight the works of saxophonist Lee Konitz and bassist Red Mitchell as an inspiration. The aesthetic of Konitz' mentor, pianist Lennie Tristano, as realized on the famous improvisations "Intuition" and "Digression," shines through on the album whose free compositions come across like finely sculpted lines of melody and rhythm, cool in sound and with a contrapuntal complexity that reaches back to Tristano's great inspiration: J.S. Bach.
It is hard to think of a more elegantly executed session of improvisations. Clocking in around 40 minutes, When We Forgot the Melody is a short, but sweet exploration of the limitless potential of free improvisation.
Sabir Mateen / Silvia Bolognesi
Holidays in Siena
Saxophonist Sabir Mateen and bassist Silvia Bolognesi also take their point of departure in the format of the duo, but their take on it isn't as cool and tranquil as Dimitri Grechi Espinoza and Tito Mangialajo Rantzer. Instead, they favor a more expressionist approach, as in "Flavio's Wine," where there is both room for subdued screams and whispers.
Mateen has an impressive command of his instrument and makes it run like a fiery racehorse on the lengthy "Walts for Jack" while Bolognesi plucks away on the strings.
The antidote to epic compositions like "Walts for Jack" and "Hugs" are the short sketches "2 with 3" and "Double S," that manage to convey a world of tonal possibilities within the span of a minute. Adding to the variety is also Mateen's use of other instruments like flute and clarinet whose hovering tones complement the more passionate bursts of the saxophone.
On Holidays in Siena, Mateen and Bolognesi show how they easily can stretch time and bend it at will. Throughout the album, landscapes of music are created with singing saxophone and buzzing bass. A lot of things are going on and listening to the music isn't a holiday, but it is definitely a challenging journey that is worth taking.
Mazz Swift / Tomeka Reid / Silvia Bolognesi
Hear in Now
Silvia Bolognesi returns. Hear in Now finds her in the company of violinist Mazz Swift and cellist Tomeka Reid. Together they create a spellbinding mixture of new classical composition, world music and jazz.
The liner notes are written by bassist William Parker and he gets to the core when he writes about the music that: "The catalyst is the moment, the spontaneous now! Each musician always plays many roles, the lead player shifts from musician to musician and just like any great theater troupe it goes way past theatre into a reality that is universal in its outreach. People of all races, ages and personalities can listen to this music and get caught up in its beautiful web of poetics."
Parker truly sees the democratic nature of the groupboth in its internal structure and in the way it reaches out to the listener. Nominally, the music on Hear in Now is a kind of modern chamber-music, with emphasis on various forms of string music. As the strings are plucked, strummed, twisted and bowed, they create a delicate Cajun stew of styles. It's seldom that experimental string music is as joyful and yet poetically deep as this. It's music that belongs on fields with flowers as well as in concert halls.
Sandro Satta / Roberto Bellatalla / Fabrizio Spera
Compared to the trio of Bolognesi, Swift and Reid, the music of saxophonist Sandro Satta, bassist Roberto Bellatalla and drummer Fabrizio Spera almost seems conservative. But in spite of a fairly traditional line-up, the music is far from predictable.
A typical example of the Rudi aesthetic, Re-union was recorded live and the intensity of the live experience really comes through with the cooking atmosphere of a jazz scene in a Jack Kerouac novel.
Speaking of the Beat Generation and bop, Satta certainly knows his fellow saxophonist Charlie Parker, but has many more tricks in his bag. He is a modern traditionalist, like the late Fred Anderson, who managed to find the connection between the great tradition and the innovations of the AACM/the avant-garde. On "Walkies," Satta plays with a dry and nonchalant swing, slyly exploring melodic motifs on the bouncing rhythmical background of bass and drums, and gradually the pressure rises until it all ends in a desperate howl surrounded by a forest of ringing bells.
The communication between the three musicians is simply top-notch as they swing, growl, howl and sing themselves through six superbly executed pieces that all bear the hallmark of improvisation: creativity and telepathic interplay.
Giuliano Tull Quartet
Saxophonist Giuliano Tull is another artist who is clearly inspired by the bop-innovations of Charlie Parker and he filters them through the avant-garde musings of saxophonist Ornette Coleman on Boparte, which consists of his compositions played by a sympathetic quartet.