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Giardullo/McPhee/Bisio/Tabbal: Shadow & Light (2002)

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The session Joe Giardullo planned for September 11, 2001 never happened. As the musicians assembled about 100 miles from the horrible destruction in New York, they contemplated scrubbing the recording. Giardullo had planned to model this recording after Dave Holland’s Conference Of Birds (ECM 1972) record with Barry Altschul, Sam Rivers and Anthony Braxton. The day and the mood called for something else.

Preconcieved notions set aside, the music was purely improvised and affected by that somber day. The first take, which became the last track and title piece, acts as an introduction of the players and sets the direction for the day. Musical advances and statements are made, withdrawn, and answered. Like many on 9/11, the musicans knew they were treading on new ground and footing was certainly unsure.

This recording is a special session because it captures all the anxiety and mystery of that fateful day. Giardullo is a frequent collaborator with saxophonist/pocket trumpeter Joe McPhee, recording a duo Specific Gravity (Boxholder), and a couple in McPhee’s Bluette, In The Spirit (1999) and No Greater Love (2000) both on the CIMP label. The multi-instrumentalists are joined by drummer Tani Tabbal (James Carter, Geri Allen, Roscoe Mitchell) and bassist Mike Bisio (Rob Blakeslee, Vinny Golia).

The respectful music suggests the musicians are finding their way in the dark. Giardullo breaks up the recording with three quartet, two duos, and three solo tracks. His solo bass clarinet from “One Moment And The Next” is a 5-minute landmark. He begins with a simple procession and expands into upper register explorations and overtones. Giardullo, like Tabbal and Bisio on their solos, keeps to the sober tones of that day. The longest piece on the disc, “Cries, Whispers & Cries” Giardullo references Albert Ayler’s wail over McPhee’s dodging soprano. The song resolves itself through Bisio’s commanding march. Several other tracks offer the suggestion of blossoming only to fall back. It is as if these four musicians were meditating on the perdition that was that day.

This is a beautiful and sad recording.

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Track Listing: One Moment And The Next; Cries, Whispers & Cries; City On The Edge Of Forever; Twilight At Noon; In The End There Is Peace; Well Of Souls; Question Of Time; Shadow & Light.

Personnel: Joe Giardullo – Flute, Bass Clarinet, Soprano Saxophone, Shenai; Joe McPhee – Tenor Saxophone, Pocket Trumpet; Mike Bisio – Bass; Tani Tabbal – Drums, Percussion, Udu Drum, Djembe.

Record Label: Drimala Records

Style: Modern Jazz


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