Sunday, August 22, 2010
Rawfishboys - Pianoworks/Pianoworksn't (Spocus, 2010) ****
The somewhat enigmatic title of the album can be explained: of the fourteen tracks four come from the piano song book by well-established jazz pianists, such as Thelonious Monk and Enrico Pieranunzi, and the rest are improvisations by this two very gifted young musicians that expand on it : Joachim Badenhorst on clarinet and Brice Soniano on bass.
So, no piano, just clarinet and bass, in wonderful duets that resonate with the melancholy and sadness of the original pieces,without strict adherence to melody and harmonics.
The end results is fabulous : it has the intimacy of chamber music, with both musicians transforming the undescribable warmth of their wooden instruments' into to the color of their tones, even in the free improvised parts. It is calm and lyrical and welcoming, usually slow ... but luckily with a great tasts for adventure, taking the overall sound into areas that are new, with gut-wrenching bowing on bass and hypnotic dark sounds coming out of the bass clarinet, or Badenhorst's unvoiced blowing at times that is more percussive than melodic.
But interestingly enough, the two musicians are called back from their wild excursions by the four composed pieces, which they play full of reverence and admiration for the original piano material, sounding astonishingly beautiful in the traditional sense of aesthetics, lightly dancing, warm and sad. The variation, the contrast between old and new, but also the similarities between them, the transposition of similar moods into different contexts, are what make this album really great. And of course the musicianship. Recommended.