Ilia Belorukov, Gabriel Ferrandini: Disquiet

Don Phipps By

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"Energetic" may not be a strong enough word to describe this fascinating collaboration between Russian saxophonist Ilia Belorukov and American drummer Gabriel Ferrandini. Like the near-infinite splatter-patterns of a Pollack painting, the two drip, drop, slam, stutter and explode across the musical canvas of their album Disquiet, with a sense of urgency that brings to mind the great ruminative duets of Cecil Taylor with a number of outstanding percussionists—Max Roach, Tony Oxley, Thurman Barker, Han Bennink. Like those duets, this one never shies from exploring hairpin turns and musical quadruple axels.

But the album is not all jumps, rips and roars. There are times when the two collaborate in heartbeat whooshes, as Belorukov pushes air through his sax and one can hear the keys of the instrument move without notes. He also produces quiet chirps and whines as Ferrandini reduces his all-over drumming to asynchronous taps and pops and uses his mallets to create cymbal whooshes to add texture to the landscape. At other times Belorukov rips the alto with an intensity that brings to mind great alto improvisers like Anthony Braxton, Jimmy Lyons, or Roscoe Mitchell, and Ferrandini uses these outbursts to serve up a complex underpinning, combining an array of drums and cymbals to produce more clicks and clacks than a chorus of crickets or a swarm of locusts.

The titles of the compositions—"Without Facts," "The Big Passages," "Fragmented Matter," "Frictions of an Interlude," and "Two Notes"—offer clues to the explorations and the borderless worlds and flurries of sounds created. While Ferrandini's hometown of Redondo Beach, CA, USA, and Belorukov's hometown of St. Petersburg, Russia, may be half a world apart, the tunes here demonstrate that no distance is too far for great music.

Track Listing: Without Facts; The Big Passages; Fragmented Matter; Fictions of an Interlude; Two Notes.

Personnel: Ilia Belorukov: alto saxophone; Gabriel Ferrandini: drums and percussion.

Title: Disquiet | Year Released: 2019 | Record Label: Clean Feed Records

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