Vinny Golia & Mark Dresser - Live At Lotus (Kadima, 2010) ****
I recently reviewed some of Dresser's bass skills, and I have always appreciated Golia for his free lyricism, without fully relinquishing the jazz tradition, even with blues undertones in the overall mood.
The second piece, "Can There Be Two", brings an exploration of a set theme, and explore they do, ranging from forceful blasts, to multiphonics and sensitive touches, using trills as on a flute, deep soulful moments, and even some Middle-Eastern excursions, without loosing the thread of the theme, and all this in perfect dialogue with the bass.
"Excursions" starts in the lower registers, with Dresser setting the tone, and Golia answering on bass clarinet, starting quite abstract, but gradually picking up a wayward boppish rhythm, and adding fluency to the phrasing, first while maintaining a minimum level of abstraction, then turning the piece into delightful free bop, only to reduce the speed again to more intimate conversations, ending in a bluesy one-note beat, like coming home.
"Locution", the last piece, is the album's highlight, with Dresser using his bow to play some heartrending and sometimes piercing sounds in an overall dark and ominous environment, with Golia's multiphonics increase the tension.
Two magicians conjuring up worlds in front of your ears.
Remi Álvarez & Mark Dresser - Soul to Soul (Discos Intolerantia, 2010) ****
The first piece is relatively abstract and even meditative, until Dresser seems to think it needs some deep emotional dive by elucidating some screaming bowing out of his bass, pushing the sax into wilder territories. The second piece starts uptempo with both instruments setting up a very nervous dialogue, with changing rhythms and pulse, short phrases and quite some intensity.This just to illustrate the broad range of approaches going from the lyrical extended phrases over rhythmic backbones to weird sonic interactions, but keeping the dialogue open at all times, with focus on the music as it unfolds itself almost naturally.
The seven improvisations on the album range from short statements of less than three minutes to lengthy dialogues of fifteen minutes, and they're good at both.
The great similarity between both albums is the incredibly coherent sense of adventure and technical skills that allow them to do what they do : make great free music with incredible warmth and passion.
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