112

Joe Giardullo 4tet: Now Is

Rex  Butters By

Sign in to view read count
Listening to Joe Giardullo’s Now Is, it’s hard to believe the multi-instrumentalist/composer spent twelve years honing his craft in private, convinced no one was interested in his artistic output. After his Gravity Music for Chamber for Creative Chamber Group tanked commercially in ’79 (despite a four star review from Downbeat ), Giardullo resigned himself to working in a vacuum.

Then, in ’91 he played a gig that happened to include multi-instrumentalist/composer Joe McPhee. Both brought soprano saxophones, and after launching a tune the band sat out to witness the magical rapport the two newly-introduced men shared. That rapport blossomed into a long association that brought Giardullo into the limelight. Besides grants, gigs, and record contracts, their charmed odyssey led to a fateful recording date of 9/11/01, which resulted in the intense Shadow & Light.

Reassembling the same quartet over a year later yields Now Is. In addition to Giardullo and McPhee, the band includes the rhythm section of Tani Tabbal on drums and Mike Bisio on bass. Tabbal showed himself a prodigy early on, and he recorded with Steve Coleman, Cassandra Wilson, Craig Taborn, David Murray, Roscoe Mitchell, and Sun Ra. Bisio includes John Tchicai, Vinny Golia, Andrew Hill, and Marilyn Crispell on his credits, as well as recording four albums as a leader.

On the title track Tabbal throws down a hard bop rhythm with Bisio chasing after. McPhee and Giardullo greet each other, McPhee on flugelhorn. After some light banter they alternate streaming solos, and create arrangements on the run. Mood and tempo change drastically, to slow down and pare down to Bisio solo bass, bowing deep ridges. Giardullo sneaks back in with Tabbal on djembe. Giardullo takes it in a romantic direction in duet with Tabbal. His sweet lyrical route finds McPhee and they sing together with Tabbal, Tabbal solo takes it out.

Without McPhee, “Spin” features the trio. Giardullo and company sweep through a medium-tempo easy rolling improvisation. The ballad “Conference” opens with Giardullo then McPhee’s harder toned soprano. Bisio plays a laconic duet with Tabbal. The two sopranos make a dramatic return and play stealthy improvisations. With a hell-bent rhythm section, “SCINT” finds McPhee blazing on trumpet. Giardullo catches the fire and makes rapid-fire spontaneous composition sound easy. McPhee adds bursts of color.

Bisio’s soulful bowing starts “O.A.O.L,” and his dexterous plucking ends it. In between, the trio strolls through with Giardullo bubbling like a stream. The quartet returns for “Spring Theory,” McPhee’s soprano plays an impassioned interlude, then Giardullo takes a short run. The two play an extended improv together and it’s like pups tumbling over each other.

Recorded with a minimum of preconceptions, the main aesthetic guiding the sessions was that each musician’s voice be heard clearly. Hearts and souls are audible as well.


Track Listing: Now Is; Spin; Conference; SCINT; O.A.O.L.; Spring Theory: Close.

Personnel: Joe Giardullo, soprano saxophone; Joe McPhee, pocket trumpet, soprano saxophone, flugelhorn; Mike Bisio, contra bass; Tani Tabbal, drums, djembe.

Year Released: 2003 | Record Label: Drimala Records | Style: Modern Jazz


Shop

More Articles

Read The Angel and the Brute Sing Songs of Rapture CD/LP/Track Review The Angel and the Brute Sing Songs of Rapture
by Karl Ackermann
Published: February 25, 2017
Read Coldest Second Yesterday CD/LP/Track Review Coldest Second Yesterday
by John Sharpe
Published: February 25, 2017
Read Follow Your Heart CD/LP/Track Review Follow Your Heart
by Mark Corroto
Published: February 25, 2017
Read The Sound of Surprise: Live at the Side Door CD/LP/Track Review The Sound of Surprise: Live at the Side Door
by Edward Blanco
Published: February 25, 2017
Read Chicago II CD/LP/Track Review Chicago II
by Doug Collette
Published: February 25, 2017
Read Over the Rainbow CD/LP/Track Review Over the Rainbow
by Paul Rauch
Published: February 24, 2017
Read "Bombogenic" CD/LP/Track Review Bombogenic
by Dave Wayne
Published: May 21, 2016
Read "Spirit Forward" CD/LP/Track Review Spirit Forward
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: October 7, 2016
Read "Duopoly" CD/LP/Track Review Duopoly
by Mark Corroto
Published: September 26, 2016
Read "Second Stream" CD/LP/Track Review Second Stream
by Troy Dostert
Published: January 26, 2017
Read "Saints and Sinners" CD/LP/Track Review Saints and Sinners
by Glenn Astarita
Published: April 30, 2016
Read "Open Window / Flying Colors" CD/LP/Track Review Open Window / Flying Colors
by Jack Bowers
Published: July 22, 2016

Post a comment

comments powered by Disqus

Sponsor: ECM Records | BUY NOW  

Support our sponsor

Support All About Jazz's Future

We need your help and we have a deal. Contribute $20 and we'll hide the six Google ads that appear on every page for a full year!

Buy it!