1

Phil Grenadier / Bruno Raberg Duo: Plunge

Chris Mosey By

Sign in to view read count
Phil Grenadier / Bruno Raberg Duo: Plunge
The inspiration for this album was saxophonist Ornette Coleman's "Lonely Woman." It gave Swedish bassist, Bruno Raberg, what he calls an "aural vision": "I 'heard' a rich, erratic, and busy soundscape in which the beautiful melody would live. I saw images of desolate streets and a lonely person's inner turmoil, conflicting emotions and despair."

Coleman's hauntingly melancholic composition was first heard on his The Shape Of Jazz To Come (Atlantic, 1959), when free jazz was in its infancy (and album titles overblown). The spontaneous, often bluesy beauty imparted to the original by Coleman's saxophone and Don Cherry's pocket trumpet is largely lost in its interpretation here by Råberg and American trumpeter Phil Grenadier (brother of bassist Larry Grenadier). The song becomes a stiff, academic musical exercise, shorn of feeling.

Coleman was one of the fathers of free jazz. The music on Plunge is in the same spirit, but far too self-conscious to be free. True, it is all based on duo improvisations by Råberg and Grenadier—what the bassist calls "real time compositions." However, these have later been adorned—not always the right word—with special effects, or what Råberg, a professor at Boston's Berklee College of Music, prefers to call "sound manipulations."

The duo obviously enjoyed the session and, away from the sci-fi blips and squawks of the manipulations, there are moments of intimacy when the music lives up to the following euphoric definition by Grenadier: "It is our voices joined in an honest search for beauty, complexity and depth." Unfortunately, such moments do not last long.

With some exceptions, the numbers are snippets, rather than full-blown songs. "Reveille," the opener, is an amusingly discordant wakeup call; "Last Train To Seville," which follows, a lugubrious Spanish- tinged evocation of a train ride (maybe); while "Heartwood" is a hesitant and quirky meditation on... something or other. Some of the "Intersections" too are interesting, notably "Moving Cycles," with its reflective theme.

Apart from "Lonely Woman," the only other written piece is Råberg's own "The Outermost Island," based on an interesting chord progression.

There is a genuine spirit of inquiry at work here but the net result is a bit of a letdown.

Track Listing

Reveille; Last Train to Seville; Five Short Pieces: Seiryuu- Azure Dragon, Byakko - White Tiger, Suzaku - Vermillion Bird, Genbu - Black Tortoise, Ouryu - Yellow Dragon; Lonely Woman; Heartwood; Ushas/Quadratic; Intersections I - IV: Part 1 - Moving Cycles, Part 2 - Line and Sphere, Part 3 - Sand Clock, Part 4 - Isomorphic; Area 51; The Outermost Island; Triangulum; Lizrael; Intersections V: Part 5 - Being and Time.

Personnel

Phil Grenadier: trumpet; Bruno Råberg: acoustic bass, sound design.

Album information

Title: Plunge | Year Released: 2012 | Record Label: Orbis Music

Post a comment about this album

Watch

Tags

Shop Amazon

More

Transmigration
Makram Aboul Hosn
Wrongs
Dan Pitt Quintet
Polaris
Greg Skaff
Sun Beans Of Shimmering Light
Wadada Leo Smith / Douglas Ewart / Mike Reed
Northwestern Songs
Arne Torvik
I Am Not A Virus
Jordan VanHemert
Braids
Sam Rivers

Popular

All About Jazz needs your support

Donate
All About Jazz & Jazz Near You were built to promote jazz music: both recorded albums and live events. We rely primarily on venues, festivals and musicians to promote their events through our platform. With club closures, limited reopenings and an uncertain future, we've pivoted our platform to collect, promote and broadcast livestream concerts to support our jazz musician friends. This is a significant but neccesary step that will help musicians and venues now, and in the future. You can help offset the cost of this essential undertaking by making a donation today. In return, we'll deliver an ad-free experience (which includes hiding the sticky footer ad). Thank you!

Get more of a good thing

Our weekly newsletter highlights our top stories and includes your local jazz events calendar.