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Monday, April 23, 2007

William Gagliardi - Memories Of Tomorrow (CIMP, 2006) ****

Saxophonist Bill Gagliardi has done two great things : he assembled this band and made a record with it, with John Carlson on trumpet, Ken Wessel on guitar, Dave Hofstra on bass and Lou Grassi on drums, or put differently, some of the best of the best of the free jazz scene. The long opening piece "Coup d'Etat Follies" is a long meandering song with few anchor points yet which is still organized and structured. The very light guitar play of Ken Wessel works on the whole like cream in the soup, softening the texture, enriching the flavor. "Let's Play" is more joyous, slightly boppish, with strong solos. The most beautiful piece is the title song "Memories Of Tomorrow", which starts calmly with light arpeggiated guitar play by Wessel, supported by arco bass, and add to that some extremely beautiful free interplay of the theme by sax and trumpet, almost unisono, but not quite. Free jazz is unfortunately appreciated by too few people, but a song like this one is so incredibly strong that even classical symphonic orchestras or jazz big bands could play it without any problem of style conflict. Those who don't like free jazz don't know what they miss, and they miss a lot. "The Key To The Gates" is almost as good : incredibly beautiful, with all musicians at their peak, and again the guitar of Wessels adds the nuance, the coloring, fingerpicking some chords, adding a glissando touch, .... and in combination with the expressive sax and the muted trumpet this makes some astonishing, sensitive, sad music. Really, the non-free-jazzers don't know what they miss.