About Trumpet and Saxophone
has an intriguing image across the back and front of its double fold-out sleeve. Painted by Geoff Wright in 1968 and entitled Svetlana
, it consists of eight images of a woman which, read from left to right, show her dressing from compete nakedness through the donning of items of underwear to full evening dress including long black gloves. It is intriguing not for reasons of sexual politics but because it is so wildly incompatible with the music contained within. Studio-recorded in London on Independence Day 2012, About Trumpet and Saxophone
features Nate Wooley
on trumpet and Seymour Wright
on alto saxophone playing a series of short pieces, alone together for three quarters of an hour, with no accompaniment; the net effect is of their instruments being completely naked and exposed. That effect is further enhanced by the minimal album title and track titles that are just their durations. That album title almost seems to be saying, "this is about trumpet and saxophone and nothing else
." Evening dress and long black gloves? Most certainly not...
Although from opposite sides of the Atlantic, as a pairing Wooley and Wright are highly compatible, having followed similar journeys in rethinking how they play their instruments and developing their own unique voices on them. The overused term "extended technique"with its vaguely sniffy air of disapprovalis not really fitting for the sounds they produce; far more appropriate is the phrase employed by drummer Eddie Prevost
in whose weekly workshop Wright is a stalwart"searching for sounds." Certainly, the pair's shared vocabulary including mouthpiece and key pops, bent notes and slurs, breathy under-blown sounds, percussive tappings and moreis eloquent testimony to their journeys.
While it captures the daring and innovation of their music, that list does not fully do justice to their vocabulary, failing to encompass the poignancy, emotion and sheer musicality of many of their exchanges. As a duo, they blend together well, sympathetically responding to and complementing each other. On more than one occasion, their interactions called to mind the "twins" tag once attached to the trumpet and sax of Cherry and Coleman. In fact, if the history of jazz can be told via great trumpet/saxophone pairings (Bix/Tram, Diz/Bird, Chet/Gerry, Miles/Trane, Don/Ornette, Kenny/Evan...add your own favourites) separated by stylistic quantum leaps, then the pairing of Nate/Seymour might just represent the latest such leap.