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Lol Coxhill / Enzo Rocco: Fine Tuning - The Gradisca Concert

Glenn Astarita By

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There are no hard and fast rules that suggest improvised music cannot be a congenial undertaking. Free expressionism should not always be engineered upon overly cerebral formats and ideologies, contrary to popular belief. Fabled saxophonist Lol Coxhill and prominent Italian guitarist Enzo Rocco conjure the best of both worlds throughout this amiable set, recorded live at a festival in Italy.

For decades, Coxhill has been a staple within the British free-jazz movement, yet is a supremely versatile artist who has appeared on progressive-rock and mainstream jazz outings. Here, he aligns with Rocco for a continuous piece that is built on extended note contrasts and upbeat dialogues, spiced with the guitarist's willowy single note runs.

The duo effectively uses space to create some breathing room in between dialogues but usually operates within a steady state mode to complement the variances in pitch, perpetuating a lighthearted manner of suspense via these ongoing inventions, sketched by intuitive interactions and a magnetic resonance. More important, the musicians do not barrage with a cacophonous onslaught and focus, primarily, on the development of subtle melodies and odd-metered choruses.

Rocco's meticulous and animated lines are abetted by closed-hand techniques and linear passages, often serving as the rhythmic element, while Coxhill's wily means of mimicking and dishing out contrapuntal phrasings are designed with pleasantness and keenly offset with edgy overtones. The duo instill a budding current, tangled with a web-like array of deviations that induce notions of synchronicity, for free improvisation framed upon the duo's charismatic exchanges and unbridled synergy.

Track Listing: Fine Tuning.

Personnel: Lol Coxhill: soprano saxophone; Enzo Rocco: guitar.

Title: Fine Tuning - The Gradisca Concert | Year Released: 2011 | Record Label: Amirani Records

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