Eminent Dutch multi-reedman Ab Baars is known to skirt the fringes of modern jazz within a variety of mechanisms. Stof
presents a largely minimalist portraiture of his craftsmanship, within a tight-knit duo framework with cellist Ig Henneman. Consisting of improvisations that are occasionally embedded into structured compositional elements, the artists pursue freedom of expression throughout.
They generally abide by a rather unhurried mode of development, but drill deep into contrasting tonalities while occasionally mimicking each other's theme-building exercises. Henneman occasionally plucks his strings amid flickering arco-passages, in support of Baar's exploratory phrasings. On "Giallo Di Napola, the musicians render a mild outpouring of emotions, and on "Castle Walk in Herringbone Suit, Henneman darts and jabs across the strings, as his counterpart executes a fleeting sequence of notes. The investigative nature of the duo's phrasings and counteractions often provide the underpinning for the album's footprint.
At times, the musicians communicate pathos through weeping lines, but morph an avant-jazz motif with a European folk theme during "Stop -To Eiske- . Ultimately, it's a pleasant rendering of the musicians' intuitive workouts, yet perhaps too low-key and understated within the scope of fourteen tracks.
Personnel: Ab Baars: tenor sax, clarinet, shakuhachi, noh-kan; Ig Henneman: cello.