There was a comment saxophonist Anthony Braxton said in an interview that I felt was very interesting. I’m paraphrasing here, but he said something to the effect that just because he plays the saxophone doesn’t mean he plays or has to play jazz all the time. The instrument is held solid with jazz, even though it can be used in a wide range of settings, like a guitar, but the saxophone is just jazz. I thought of this as I was listening to this album by a trio who call themselves Bug Jargal. Nello Da Pont, Giorgio Pacorig, and Luciano Caruso begin in a very open fashion, not free jazz or anything but slowly building themselves up and I hear Caruso’s saxophone world. Here I was, expecting something textural and then Da Pont’s drums kick in and… it has a groove. Not funky, but it grooves well, just bars repeated without a bass line, and I say this because it’s what I generally crave in other music. Then Pacorig plays his Fender Rhodes and it sounds very much like jazz to me, or at least avant-garde jazz. It could be something freaky on ECM, it could be something on another distant record label, it could be one of Sun Ra’s musicians doodling in an earthbound manner. It’s not a garbled mess, there is some sense of precision going on, but it’s nice to hear just three guys playing for the sake of playing, very improvisational (at least to my ears) and without a care of where they’re going to go next, or with each other. Pacorig sometimes plays with the spirit of Herbie Hancock or Keith Jarrett so at times it may feel like you’ll think Miles Davis will come out, play his trumpet for two minutes, then stair at the wall for the next 22 minutes. As the liner notes state, “there is respect, mutual trust and complicity” and that can be felt. Again, unsure of where they’re going, but they’re going, and I’m glad they did. Further journeys, gentlemen.
When you name your group after a Philip K. Dick character who felt his body odor was lethal, even if said order didn’t exist, and yet the one thing you’re known for is being the official White House pianist, and that you can play the piano with your mind, you know there are some head games going on. Perhaps that was the point when Alberto Collodel, Davide Lorenzon, and Ivan Pilat came up with Kongrosian, and the sounds they came up with on their debut album, Bootstrap Paradox (my review of which can be read here). With their brand new album, it is the continuation of the mind moving forward, figuring out what to do, where to go, and allowing the mind to take you, the creator and individual, where it feels it needs to be.
The Exit Door Leads In (Aut) is based after the title of a short story Dick wrote and published in 1979, and the entire album was written and put together in his honor. The assembly of creation in free jazz is something I enjoy, errors and all, and along the way they bring in Nello Da Pont (drums), Tim Trevor Briscoe (alto saxophone/clarinet), Edoardo Marraffa (tenor saxophone), Nicola Guazzaloca (piano), and Piero Bittolo Bon (alto saxophone, alto clarinet, and kou xiang) to help them on their mission. The majority of the tracks on the album are on-the-spot improvisations, and it’s nice to hear what they come up with in the spirit of the theme of the album. Four of the tracks were written by Kongrosian’s Pilat, while Bittolo Bon also offers up the very nice (and clever) “Sahdeecoolow”. Even the songs that have form tend to sound as if they have no form or structure due to the freeform feel of the other material here, but then things begin to gel and the listener (or at least I) gets a sense that all of this is meant to be. With multiple listens, I’m sure The Exit Door Leads In will reveal new things not felt before, and maybe that’s how it was meant to be as well.