As Cantiere Simone Weil (Aut) was beginning and processing, my first assumption was that this was a contemporary classical piece. Then as the music goes on, the saxophones were going off on a different label, making me realize “is this more on the jazz side?” Then I realized it may be a bit of both, or none.
The album by Szilárd Mezei (viola) Tim Trevor-Briscoe (alto and tenor saxophones, soprano and bass clarinets), and
Nicola Guazzaloca (piano) begins almost out of nowhere and even as the music slides along the way, I was unsure of where it was going, what it was doing or when I would be able to say “this is more classical than jazz but wait a minute: this IS jazz. Or is it?” Guazzaloca has always bee peculiar but in a good way and it’s nice to sit through the three piecs here and wondering where the end points will be or if they are just segueways towards the inevitable and if there is an inevitable, will I know if it is a true ending or just another starting point? Nonetheless, it was quite enjoyable, hearing it as a solid trio or as a light touching towards something that could be bigger and brighter.
Tripterygion (Aut) is a unique jazz album by Luciano Caruso (soprano sax) and Luigi Vitale (vibes), and if you’re someone who doesn’t enjoy avant-garde or improvsational jazz, you are not going to like this album. On this, the two musicians have a musical dialogue, an exchange that sounds like two people having a discussion about what happened the night before or throughout the week. Caruso’s saxophone work is alive and vibrant, while Vitale’s vibe work is primarily subdued when it has to be, but very active when it has a statement to be made. In a piece like “Balistes Carolinensis”, the vibraphone takes on a different path, as it is played in a fashion that sounds like someone packing their suitcase, prepared to go on a short vacation. When it reaches “Codium Bursa”, that’s when it gets a bit more musical, although throughout the 14-track experience you discover how musical a conversation can be, whether it’s between the voices of two instruments, a metaphor for the voices of two people. A nice-yet-interesting (and curious) listen.
(Tripterygion can be ordered digitally or as a hard copy CD directly from AutRecords.com.)
It’s great when I come across an album where I don’t know the difference between the title of the album and the name of the artist. I really enjoy looking at a cover that tells me nothing about the content within. In this case, the group is Matta Gawa and the name of the album is Ba (Engine Studios). This 2-man Ohio band go right into a room, turn on their instruments, hit the drum kit and just play, allowing each other to steer the way with no sense of direction but to move forward. They play, metaphorically, with blindfolds on and it could be some controlled noise rock with the kind of freedom one can expect from free jazz, where you’ll hear a bass with an intense amount of distortion, or they’re tweaking an effect pedal and making things sound ridiculous. Then have a guitar player that may sound like his ass has been itching for a week and he’s trying to cure it by playing in secret code. Then you have a drummer that no only relies on his own kit to set the mood, but has various percussion instruments that make him sound like the offspring of Billy Martin of Medeski, Martin & Wood. In fact, if you like the more exotic and freak-out sections of MMW, you may find something of interest in Matta Gawa. As with any improvisational music, anything and everything can and does go, so what you hear in these songs may only sound like this on this album. There are titles like “Dialogue of a Man With His Ba”, “My Ba Cannot Be Kept From My Corpse”, and “You Ba Will Not Abandon Your Corpse”, it should be obvious they’re not caring about converting any of Katy Perry‘s fans anytime soon (although that would be great).
The sound quality is un-produced, it’s not bootleg quality but don’t expect some mindbending panning or anything too exotic in the mix. It would be cool to hear them get a souped up mix, but I’m satisfied with the “let’s run in and see what comes out of it” approach of Matta Gawa. As for what a Matta Gawa is and how it relates to the power of Ba, I have no idea and I’m fine with that. I like what’s here and I hope they’ll record and release more music.
(BONUS: I like the fact that their MySpace page lists Sun Ra, Kool Keith, Mission Of Burma, and E-40 as friends. Ba indeed.)