One of the most intriguing elements of saxophonists Tineke Postma's and Greg Osby's superb Sonic Halo is the way the co-leaders overlap their individual voices to create a uniquely multifaceted and harmonically integrated entity. Both Postma and Osby double on alto and soprano and their ideas, whether spontaneous or prewritten, flow seamlessly between them. This sublime exchange of musical concept is not at the expense of either artist's distinctive style.
The percolating, turbulent rhythmic vamps form the backdrop for "Facets." This simmering Osby composition features a provocative and captivating duet that matches Postma's pensive, rich tone with Osby's crisp, muscular one. The result is a passionate dialogue that delights with its intelligent eloquence and lyrical expression.
On Postma's cinematic "Nine Times a Night" they weave a captivating sonic tapestry with their haunting conversation. Osby's mordant phrases construct an angular framework through which meander Postma's darkly hued sinuous lines.
A subtle sense of the dramatic permeates most of the album "Melo," for instance, has the feel of an art house film's soundtrack. The mood is nostalgic with hints of melancholy as the saxophones alternate poetic improvisations. Pianist Matt Mitchell's lithe and elegant solo peppered with western classical hints bisects the track. Bassist Linda May Han Oh concludes the tune with her thrillingly agile and curiously complex monologue
Oh opens Postma's tense and exciting "Pleasant Affliction" with her unaccompanied reverberating strings. Drummer Dan Weiss follows with a thunderous and vibrant clamor while Mitchell joins, after a few bars, with his exhilarating whirl of notes. With the saxophonists' entry the group engages in edgy and cooperative embellishments of the main theme while simultaneously deconstructing and reconstituting it. The entire piece is made up of deceptively simple but intricately built brief, melodic fragments, which serve as fodder for an energetic and stimulating ensemble play.
Both Postma and Osby are subtle yet exquisite innovators and sophisticated and imaginative composers and performers. It is no surprise that their collaborative effort is a brilliant and articulate artistic statement that fascinates with its singular wit and enamors with its quiet charm.
Sea Skies; Facets; Source Code; Where I'm From; Nine Times A Night; Bottom Forty; Melo; Body And Soul; Pleasant Affliction
Tineke Postma: alto saxophone, soprano saxophone; Greg Osby: alto saxophone, soprano saxophone; Matt Mitchell: piano, rhodes; Dan Weiss: drums; Linda Oh: bass.
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