All About Jazz

Home » Articles » CD/LP/Track Review

199

Michael Bisio / Raymond Boni / Dominic Duval / Joe McPhee: Port of Saints

Lyn Horton By

Sign in to view read count
The unvarnished truth about improvised music is that it takes us where we never expect to go. Port of Saints describes an epic journey whose main character is the saxophone. A guitar acts as the saxophone's alter ego. Two basses supply avuncular guide posts for traveling to an unknowable but certain destination. The journey is rife both with fantasy and human spirit.

Raymond Boni evokes an extra-terrestrial ambiance through his uniquely overt and detailed approach to the electric guitar. Repeatedly, his guitar rings, tingles and twinkles. He predominates the beginning with careful figures which later stretch into expansive, convoluted phrases. The two bassists, Michael Bisio and Dominic Duval, weave through this mysterious territory, keeping the guitar in tow, sometimes rhythmically. For the most part, the basses maintain an abstract plane replete with heavy bowing, sets of high pitch scrapes, elegant penetrating vibratos, snapping pizzicatos and quiet ornament. The guitar and the basses sometimes bond by duplicating ostinatos.

The tenor saxophone portrays a peculiar part in this journey. McPhee plays his horn as if he were questioning his own existence. A blast of plaintive wail cuts through the fluidity of the strings almost halfway through the first piece. Extending his instrument's reverberation, Boni buoys the sax so that it will stay afloat. Eventually, the sax calms. The sound is less reedy and less tempestuous. But McPhee continues to climb through thickets of high-pitched phrases. After a brief silence, he returns, marching with a full range of pitches that shift with vibratos. We are hearing the climactic transformation of the sax from a state of agitated yearning to one of settling in pure and certain tone.

A sax-less denouement follows: all bass and guitar moving up and down the scale, cooling down after the discord and revelation. But the sax penetrates the soundscape again with arpeggios. It proceeds with bravura, merges with a mimicking guitar line, and exits renewed and sensible.

In the second track, the instruments move quickly and coincidentally. The distance for them to travel is less than in the first piece. The terrain is less complicated and earthly. The saxophone is electrified but yields to the strings. The guitar brings the piece home in three swift plucks.

Joe McPhee created the cover for Port of Saints, with a painting of what could be a galaxy. A portion of this galactic pie is cut out to leave the color black in its place. For some, this blackness may denote that something is missing—but nothing is missing here. That black section symbolizes Port of Saints, a vast arena for re-establishing the connection between humanity and a universe of musical expression.


Track Listing: Port of Saints; The Snake, The Fish (And Things).

Personnel: Michael Bisio: bass; Raymond Boni: electric guitar; Dominic Duval: bass; Joe McPhee: tenor saxophone.

Title: Port of Saints | Year Released: 2006 | Record Label: CJR

Tags

comments powered by Disqus

In Pictures
CD/LP/Track Review
Read more articles
From Outer Space

From Outer Space

Roaratorio Records
2018

buy
Imaginary Numbers

Imaginary Numbers

Clean Feed Records
2018

buy
Flowers

Flowers

Cipsela Records
2016

buy
Ticonderoga

Ticonderoga

Clean Feed Records
2015

buy
Solos : The Lost Tapes (1980 – 1981 – 1984)

Solos : The Lost...

Roaratorio Records
2015

buy

Related Articles

Read Subtle Disguise CD/LP/Track Review
Subtle Disguise
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: October 18, 2018
Read Introverted Cultures CD/LP/Track Review
Introverted Cultures
by Karl Ackermann
Published: October 18, 2018
Read Flyway CD/LP/Track Review
Flyway
by Geannine Reid
Published: October 18, 2018
Read Crime Zone CD/LP/Track Review
Crime Zone
by Chris Mosey
Published: October 18, 2018
Read Begin the Agora CD/LP/Track Review
Begin the Agora
by Jack Bowers
Published: October 17, 2018
Read Time Like This CD/LP/Track Review
Time Like This
by Glenn Astarita
Published: October 17, 2018
Read "We Are the Orchestra" CD/LP/Track Review We Are the Orchestra
by Mark Sullivan
Published: September 29, 2018
Read "When The Birds Leave" CD/LP/Track Review When The Birds Leave
by Don Phipps
Published: March 1, 2018
Read "Crazy Lights Shining" CD/LP/Track Review Crazy Lights Shining
by Gareth Thompson
Published: June 2, 2018
Read "The Berlin Concert" CD/LP/Track Review The Berlin Concert
by Troy Dostert
Published: June 18, 2018
Read "Peter and the Wolf" CD/LP/Track Review Peter and the Wolf
by Jack Bowers
Published: July 8, 2018
Read "Mønk" CD/LP/Track Review Mønk
by Chris May
Published: September 20, 2018