Back in 2013, renowned saxophonists George Garzone
and Jerry Bergonzi
recorded an album together that came out in 2014 on the Danish label Stunt. The name of the album was Quintonic
and it sounded just as one might expect; wonderful music with fiery blowing, swinging tunes, tight grooves and razor-sharp twists and turns and lyric moments of beauty. They recorded it with two Danish musicians, pianist Carl Winther
and drummer Anders Mogensen
, and the Finnish bassist Johnny Åman
Now comes Splitting Up In Boston
, another album with Garzone and Bergonzi, and even though it is released after Quintonic
, it actually precedes the recording with one year. The album was recorded in December 2012 in Boston. Danish bassist Richard Andersson
arranged a marathon session with the two saxophonists and percussion wizard Rakalam Bob Moses
and now, after three years, the result is finally here and it does not sound like the album one could expect, and yet it has the unmistakable watermark of the two tenor titans.
The absence of a piano allows for much more space in the music and even though Moses is able to conjure an entire rain forest of strange percussive sounds, he does not dominate the session, but adds a wealth of textures. Andersson himself changes between simple dirges, merely plucking the strings to let them resonate in the air, and complex bass patterns. "Don't get too close" is played as a bass solo and it is a study in the use of space and organic development of motifs.
The music is original and knotty, but still accessible, and the melodic riff that emerges on "I see us more as friends" is filled with joy and vitality. There is not the complete catharsis that Garzone provides with The Fringe or the intellectual hard-bop that Bergonzi is so capable of, but instead there is something else. Together with Andersson and Moses, Garzone and Bergonzi slow down and squeeze new sounds out from their instruments. For instance, they find haunting overtones on "If you'll weep I'll cry" where they also play some genuinely swinging lines. The album is simply an encyclopedia of saxophone sounds.
The final track is called "Let's delay our goodbye" and a sequel with more music from the same session is actually planned. Time will tell if it will take another three years to complete the next album, but there is no doubt that Splitting Up In Boston
was worth the wait.
May I come in?; I won't be long; Dot; If you scratch my back I'll
scratch yours; Don't get too close; I see us more as friends; If you
weep I'll cry; No one said it would be easy; Let's delay our goodbye.
George Garzone: saxophone; Jerry Bergonzi: saxophone; Ra-Kalam Bob
Moses: drums and percussion; Richard Andersson: bass.