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Saturday, April 16, 2022

Day & Taxi (Christoph Gallio, Silvan Jeger, Gerry Hemingway) – Run, the Darkness Will Come! (Pergaso, 2021) ****½

By Nick Ostrum

Day & Taxi is a project at whose heart sits reedist Christoph Gallio. It began thirty years, with Gallio, bassist Dominic Geraud and percussionist Dieter Ulrich, and, over the course of its existence, has included a variety of Swiss rhythm sections, ranging from David Stüder and Marco Käppeli to Christian Weber and David Meier, to the current line-up of Gallio, Silvan Jeger (bass) and Gerry Hemingway (drums). Hemingway, of course, is not Swiss himself and might be the first (or one of the first) deviation(s) from the Helvetic core.

Maybe I am putting too much emphasis on place, here. Still, Run, the Darkness Will Come!, Day & Taxi’s 8th release, sounds much more European to me than it does American. It has a playfulness balanced by a particular type of virtuosity that seems characteristic of the albeit diverse Swiss scene. It also, however, often relies on funky bass vamps and stunted walking lines over which Gallio casts his wide range of modern techniques form squeaks and squawls to lines more tender, but still somewhat contorted. The result is a series of bouncy tracks filled with joyful noises and, as most evident on R.F, a reverence for space wherein Hemingway gets to really spread out or in track five, wherein Jeger scrapes and shreds his way over a nice steady backbeat. Tracks often contain simple melodies that serve as the bases for often sax-forward improvisation. One piece, Corrine, even starts to approach a Breuker level of bounce and march. What really pulls the listener in, however, are the numerous cuts that appear throughout the album focused around short poems by a range of Swiss and American writers. (If you understand German, it can help.) These are often quizzical verses, sometimes veering toward the surreal, absurd, or just plain ludic. Still, they add both crypticism and force the listener to hear the album as a series of tangential vignettes, that, in their juxtaposition, hint at some elusive narrative.

Run, the Darkness Will Come! is filled with strut and jaunt, but is always somewhat off-kilter, like a darkly comic, fantastical mystery. It is often bouncy, with deceptively simple rhythms (Hemingway occupies a more traditional rhythmic space on this release) and tunes, that push just far enough into warped space to maintain the listener’s rapt interest from start to finish. It coheres, but in a non-linear way. And that quizzicality, that combination of precision and farce, is a key part of the experience.

Run, the Darkness Will Come! is available on CD and can be purchased directly from Christoph Gallio or through your favorite free jazz online retailer.


Monochromios said...

The album is also available through Christoph Gallo's Bandcamp page here:

Monochromios said...

The album is also available through Christoph Gallo's Bandcamp page here:

Pete B said...

The earliest iteration of Day and Taxi (on record at least) featured the late Scottish bass player Lindsay L Cooper...

Nick Ostrum said...

Thanks, Monochromios! I must have missed that page.