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g a b b r o: g a b b r o

Mark Corroto By

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Have you ever considered your dog's paws? Whenever a baritone saxophone, or tuba for that matter, is introduced into an improvising scene, I think about my dog's forepaws. While you have hands with fingers designed for intricate work attached to your arms, a dog has these blunt clubs. I always considered the baritone saxophone to be in the same blunt category. That is, until I was introduced to the music of Colin Stetson, Mats Gustafsson and now g a b b r o, a two baritone saxophone duo of Hanne De Backer and Marc De Maeseneer. De Maeseneer is a member of the trio Backback, who released III (El Negocito Records, 2014).

The pair elevates the bari from an unsharpened tool to a refined instrument. Opening with the familiar boat-horn blasts on "Sterna Paradisaea," the pair then weave a nuanced sound through their two voices. "For The Souls Of Nauru" has one horn gliding over the resonating minimalist breath of the other, then upper register soundings engage with the flutter notes. Now, we're miles away from boat horns and bottoms. "Minor Swing" impresses with a circular breathing saxophone pulse matched by a haunting refrain. Elsewhere, the pair fashion a minimalist tome on "We've Seen Life On Mars!?," with sounds that are as impenetrable and desolate as any deep space explorer can imagine. "Kraveel Bos" pairs a melody against pulse, culminating in what could be an operatic vision. Impressive music making here, and it makes me question just how my dog opened the front door last week.

Track Listing: Sterna Paradisaea; 821 DARK; For The Souls Of Nauru; Minor Swing; We’ve Seen Life On Mars!?; Kraveel Bos; Hellh Olé.

Personnel: Hanne De Backer: baritone saxophone; Marc De Maeseneer: baritone saxophone.

Title: g a b b r o | Year Released: 2017 | Record Label: El Negocito Records

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