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Masashi Harada & Barre Phillips: Voluminous Venture

Glenn Astarita By

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This new release might serve as a paradigm of improvisational inventiveness for bass-piano pairings. Here, pianist/percussionist Masashi Harada teams up with esteemed modern jazz bassist Barre Phillips for a set brimming with subtly melodic, fragmented passages and the twosomes’ compassionate melding of harmonically rich micro themes with propulsive episodes. Furthermore, the musicians’ allow themselves ample amounts of breathing room for a series of geometrically inclined patterns consisting of Harada’s flailing arpeggios and rhythmic approach to the piano atop Phillips’ employment of counterpoint and contrasting textures. Essentially, the artists inject their unique personalities into this most interesting mix via divergently executed motifs and sonorous exchanges. With the piece titled, “Projecting Into The Sea,” Harada terrorizes his piano by implementing monstrous block chords and Cecil Taylor-like jaunts across the keyboard while Phillips maintains a swaying undertow, as the bassist also accentuates Harada’s complex rhythmic excursions. However, on “Hanging Density”, the pianist renders wordless, animalistic sounds in concert with Phillips’ bowed bass lines, whereas the deft expressionism continues on the rather menacing, “Return”. Overall, the duo performs as though they were in a state of euphoria or under some sort of hypnotic spell. - A most intriguing presentation indeed! Recommended.

Cadence


Title: Voluminous Venture | Year Released: 2001 | Record Label: Leo Records


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