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Monday, March 15, 2021

Two Much: Reut Regev and Igal Foni - Never Enough (Relative Pitch, 2021) ****


By Eyal Hareuveni

Israeli-born, New York-based trombonist Reut Regev and drummer Igal Foni share life and musical careers for more than twenty years now. But, surprisingly, Never Enough, is their first duo album, recorded in intimate studio settings right before the Covis-19 pandemic, and then amended during the lockdown in their home studio. The nice cover art was given to Regev And Foni as a wedding present by late Israeli free-improvising pioneer, clarinetist and beat poet Harold Rubin.

Regev is known for her work with some of the most seminal composers, among them Anthony Braxton, Butch Morris and Elliot Sharp, but she says that a typical year for her includes some free improvisation, contemporary compositions, blues, klezmer, Latin music, straight-ahead jazz, and everything in between. Foni is known for his work with sax player Avram Ferer, double bass player Adam Lane and veteran pianist Burton Greene. Their shared project so far was the trio Reut Regev’s R*time, where they hosted free funk guitarist Jean-Paul Bourelly, bassists Mark Peterson, Robert Jukic and Andrea Castelli, and tubist Jon Sass.

Two Much captures the essence of Never Enough. Regev and Foni sound like a much bigger outfit than only a trombonist (with occasional use of electronics) and drummer. The 20 short and sarcastic-tiled pieces cover many moods, compositional and improvisational strategies and dynamics of free-improvisation, and refuse to settle in familiar molds or clear narratives. The telepathic, intimate conversational interplay of these soulmates is, obviously, a central factor. But Regev and Foni succeed to charge even in the most adventurous (“A Wave Without A Shore”, “Temperamental Flow”), experimental (“Repent And Repair”, “Echoes of Infinity”) and eccentric pieces (“Gone Without The Wind”, “Short”, “Flea Bath”) , when both of them search for new timbral qualities of the trombone, the drum-set and percussive objects, with a strong focus on fun atmosphere and subversive doses of pathos and humor (“Rising Up”, “Mustard”, “The Art of the Grind”), and to radiate this feeling to the listener. At times, these colorful duets sound like secretive yet highly playful and twisted, song-like dialogs of romantic wife and a husband who are never tired of pushing the boundaries of each other’s - sonic as well as personal, and keep refreshing and coloring their daily experiences with plenty of imaginative ideas. It is clear that Regev and Foni enjoy living the moment without looking back, not even to their former homeland. The last piece on Never Enough is even called “Palestine”, an intense but still quite hopeful piece.