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Giuseppe Doronzo: Goya

Karl Ackermann By

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Italian baritone saxophonist Giuseppe Doronzo is the type of restless artist that continually looks for new resources from which to expand on the language of his instrument. In recent years he has utilized a variety of format platforms as launching points. With the self-titled debut of the quintet Falga (Self-Produced, 2016) and the subsequent AVA Trio release Music From An Imaginary Land (TryTone, 2017), Doronzo worked in formations that had distinct global influences (and personnel) that were reflected in the ensuing music. Goya is Doronzo's first solo saxophone release.

The bulky and somewhat awkward baritone saxophone has often been tucked in that closet of seldom seen jazz instruments. A number of multi-reedists such as Vinny Golia, Ken Vandermark, Mats Gustafsson and Howard Johnson keep the baritone in their arsenal but use it irregularly. Only a few artists—David Mott, Martin Kuchen and Jonah Parzen-Johnson come to mind—have taken on the ambitious task of bringing the over-sized member of the saxophone family out for a full-length recording. Doronzo takes an eclectic approach here with fundamental and avant-garde elements all in play.

"Arundo Choir" and "Nesciobrug" are low-end drones whose modulations are in the occasional, and distant, overlays from the upper register or gruff, raw diversions. Initially there is a distinct melody—albeit, a quirky one—on "Flusso di Coscienza" but that gives way to a rapid-fire torrent of notes that build in intensity before abruptly quieting at the end. "Conversation" has a deep, bluesy feel while "Engaku-Ji" is a case study in eclecticism and technique.

Doronzo plays as if with a split personality—he is aware of one mindset even as he goes off on a tangent. His playing is powerful but not overwhelming and his toying with multi-phonics, layers and textures manages to hang together even in the most abstract passages. Doronzo brings out the distinctive qualities of the baritone from the moody, to the raspy to the visceral. It's been said that the improvised solo is the highest form of personal expression and Doronzo does a first-rate job of articulating his vision.

Track Listing: Arundo Choir; Flusso di Coscienza; Conversation; Nesciobrug; Engaku-Ji; Rotunda; Canti dal Grano.

Personnel: Giuseppe Doronzo: baritone saxophone.

Title: Goya | Year Released: 2018 | Record Label: Tora Records

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