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Saturday, August 2, 2008

Bill Gagliardi, Ken Filiano, Lou Grassi - KenBillou (CIMP, 2008) ****½

From the comments by Robert Rusch on the CIMP website, one could deduct that Bill Gagliardi (sax), Ken Filiano (bass), and Lou Grassi (drums), recorded sufficient material for a second CD, and after hearing this one, one can only hope that the second release is not too far away in the future. The three musicians represent everything that the label stands for : free, direct, uncompromising and technically great music, rooted in bop, with a strong emotional component. I wondered a long time why Robert Rusch always commented on the food eaten with the bands in between recording sessions in The Spirit Room and how the musicians all felt about the music. The answer, I think, is that CIMP music is characterized by this physical, emotional and relational aspect to it, that embraces all non-rational aspects in music. It is close, immediate, intimate, and this album is no different.

Last year, I was already quite enthusiastic about "Memories Of Tomorrow", and despite the more limited line-up, I am still as enthusiastic. The three musicians have this incredible drive, epitomized in the long "The Last Of The Beboppers", on which the sax screams and wails rhythmically and lyrically, and on which the bass and the drums keep pushing things forward, keeping up the speed and the momentum. Other tracks are more meditative, mid-tempo, expansive and lyrical, such as the title track, on which the arco bass and the plaintive sax conjure up a deep melancholy. The most beautiful track is the last one "Written In Water", on which the sax plays a stunning theme over a hypnotic rhythm.

I enjoyed every note on this record. Without a doubt one of the best sax trios of the year. Don't miss it.

© stef