By Joe Higham
This is what my children are calling 'Ghost Music', which is a great description for such a music as this. And when I say that my children gave it this title it's a big compliment, after all I notice that children (mine at least) often hear music in another way, giving names to sounds or melodies with no prejudices about what they mean or might infer. So here we have it Triangulation II (#30) in the catalogue of Kadima Collective, a label run by Jean - Claude Jones.
The music here suits the ghost images very well as these improvisations are all based on atmosphere that could be described as cinematic - i.e. they would not be out of place on a film soundtrack. The reason for this, to my ears at least, is the interesting use of bass flute, bass saxophone and a few other 'extreme' register instruments by Vinny Golia. Due to imaginative use of wind instruments - clarinet, bass sax, flute, bass flute and others probably, the (un)usual trombone sounds of George Lewis combine with the bass playing of Bert Turetzky, much of the music builds on atmosphere and rarely melodies, except for the last piece. Commenting on individual pieces is difficult and rarely do the titles of the tracks define the music - which is where Anthony Braxton's number system for titles springs to mind as a useful way of categorizing tunes/tracks without influencing the listener as to what they might hear.
However, if one had to describe the music at all I would say that almost all the pieces are ballads in feeling. Never is there any aggressive screeching and it's almost as if the musicians hoped to keep a calm reflective sound in the music, almost serene. Of course there are aggressive moments such as "Diversion Ta Tre" which use Lewis's singing harmonics combining later with the bass. The end section of "A Low Frequency Colloquy" also uses the bass saxophone to great effect. But the general direction of the music is towards a calm contemplative sound and much of that is due to the unusual choice and use of such instruments as the bass flute and bass sax. As already mentioned the last piece "Up Is Down" has a quite amazing opening with flute, trombone and bowed bass creating an oriental atmosphere. The music gradually moves into much darker sounds only to return to the original motive at the end .... planned maybe?
All in all this is an album that reveals many details with listening. Whilst writing this review I would constantly hear sections passing which were beyond description when using words. George Lewis' unusual use of trombone sounds often become unidentifiable as such, and when combining with either the double bass of Turetzky and the wind instruments of Golia, create textures of real delicacy. A real success, and one that grows with listening. What more can one ask?
Musicians : Bert Turetsky : Double Bass - George Lewis : Trombone - Vinny Golia : Woodwinds.
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