Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Joe McPhee & Dominic Duval - The Open Door (CIMP, 2008) ****½

This is the third duo recording by Joe McPhee and Dominic Duval, after Rules Of Engagement, Vol. 2 (1999) and Dream Book (2004), and next to a quite substantial number of releases with Trio X. In essence, the music is not too different from the Trio X albums, the only major difference is that it is more conversational, less rhythmic, more focused on sound than on melody. And yet ... The 25-minute first track starts slowly, almost hesitantly, gently, with the two musicians probing each other, then, close to halfway the piece, they start in earnest, with McPhee blowing from the depth of his heart and soul, majestically supported by Duval, who intensifies the intense moments, and deepens McPhee's warm tone in the more melancholy moments, switching to arco when the alto becomes moody and plaintive. Both McPhee and Duval are real equilibrists, balancing between exploratory free form and traditional elements, always with an incredibly sincere and selfless approach to music. It's hard to describe, but in comparison with many other avant-gardists, they're not looking for shock effects, or a "have you heard this", or a "watch me break boundaries" kind of attitude, they don't care where they are going to, the music takes them, sound after sound, deep into musical and emotional possibilities, possibly leading to some sudden dancing steps or shouting through the horn or circular breathing, or just plain beautiful melodious soulful and spiritual melodies, ... they do it all, in a very genuine and authentic manner. I will not describe every track, but what both musicians do on "A Poetic Resonance" is absolutely timeless and masterful - it's classical, it's jazz, it's blues, it's avant-garde all in one, it's sad and joyful at the same time, it's emotional and clever. It's music as it is meant to be. Just excellent.

Listen and download from iTunes.

1 comment:

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