Here are three very different takes on the traditional grouping of piano and violin and, despite 'free jazz' tendencies, all are rooted in the romantic chamber music originally associated with the pairing. The Jorge Lima Barreto/Carlos Zingaro Kits 2 comes 15 years on the heels of a similar venture that sported a wider sonic pallet. The duo's scope may be narrower, but they explore every nook and cranny of their respective instruments. Prepared piano and tastefully effected violin vie with post-Romantic arpeggios and long cadenzas to create a nicely varied program. Yet, there's a feeling of disunity throughout, as there seems to be very little actual communication. When Zingaro enters on the first track, it is with very different ideas than Barreto and the two seem to be in some sort of conflict. The initially more introspective third track comes across as more symbiotic, signaling the synchronicity the project might have entailed from the start.
A more recent violinist to watch is Stefano Pastor and Live at Tortona with Borah Bergman
presents no such difficulties. Pastor's approach blends bebop phrasing with a taste for avant-garde tonality. In fact, he and Bergman blend tradition and innovation in similar ways, making this a fascinating and rewarding combination. Conventional tonality is always waiting in the wings, as can be heard on the unfortunately truncated "When Autumn Comes," but it's often banished in favor of free counterpoint. They're right in tune on "The Mighty Oak," competing with each other's ideas as they build a structure solid and craggily detailed enough to warrant the title.
presents the most contrast. Kuroi KawaBlack River offers one disc of studio and one of concert recordings. We are plunged immediately into wistful impressionism but as might be expected, things change rapidly. The first disc is packed full of brief vignettes, which can get as gnarly as the rasping of "Open the Window" but conclude with the sumptuous "Between Sky and Land." The live disc offers longer pieces, but they're in a similar vein. Fujii's pianism is colorful and virtuosic as always and Kihlstedt has rarely played with more depth, conviction and variety. This is a high-energy duo set that nevertheless allows for some repose, making it the most satisfying of the three by a small margin.
Tracks and Personnel
Tracks: I; II; III; IV; V.
Personnel: Carlos Zingaro: violin. Jorge Lima Baretto: piano.
Live at Tortona
Tracks: Spirit Song; When Autumn Comes; Wellspring; Crescent; The Mighty Oak
Tracks: CD1: Konoha No Sasayaki -The Murmur of Leaves; Kogane Mushi -Scarab; To HoEast; RakudaCamel; Mado Wo AkeruOpen The Window; Eki Deno Ichi NichiOne Day at the Station; SuiheisenBetween Sky And Water; KonekoKitty; KagamiMirror; KiboHope; Tsuchi No NakaIn The Ground; Sora No NakaIn The Sky; Arabesque; Maho No JyutanMagic Carpet; AmadareRaindrop; Yume No NakaIn The Dream; KamikazariBerette; ChiheisenSky And Land. CD2: Kuroi KawaBlack River; Aoi SakaBlue Slope; Murasaki No NatsuPurple Summer; Akai KazeRed Wind; Midori No ShinkiroGreen Mirage; Shropi ArashiWhite Storm.