ALBERTO BRAIDA/GIANCARLO LOCATELLI

diciannove calefazioni
Takla Records 2

Inhabiting the strange netherworld between free jazz and New music, this young Northern Italian duo promises to warm up the body with this set of 19 improvisations. While you can certainly admire Giancarlo Locatelli's skill on his three clarinets and Alberto Braida's piano playing, heat isn't exactly the first adjective that comes to mind when hearing these performances.

If anything, the two appear to list very prominently —and coolly — towards the so-called classical side of things. No one is asking that these recitals resemble a traditional jam session, but a little bit of levity could have helped things along. While Locatelli, especially, seem to be interested in woodwind exploration and Braida would be loath to be described as an accompanist, the overall impression is of peering into a sterile laboratory and observing the experiments of a couple of white-coated tone scientists. However, even this reed research sometimes seems to be little more than clarinet cloning, for the timbres seem to vary little from one horn to the next.

Theorists may ascribe their unassertive style to the admiration both have expressed for Wolfgang Fuchs, the German reedman who will never blow a note he can tongue or play a tone -piano when it can be pianissimo. But even Fuchs many projects seem more involved and involving than this one. Furthermore, considering that the two have collectively worked or recorded with much more expressive stylists including saxophonist Steve Lacy, guitarist Ebhard Hirt and trombonist Giancarlo Schiaffini, and that on his own, the keyboardist has created projects with Welsh and Italian poetry, you would expect more humanism and less mechanism here. Indeed the four tracks entitled "Caledoscopio" 1 through 4, rather than "Calefazione" 1 through 15, lack the free-flowing kaleidoscopic quantities that you would expect to distinguish them from the surrounding tracks.

The duo has been playing together since 1996 and certainly has developed the sympathetic telepathy needed to work in the duo format. But it's cold music, more to be appreciated than loved or admired.

Investigate this disc if you're not put off by formality or, despite the title, frigidity. However, most of us would hope that other Takla improvising groups in which the two participate offer more for the heart and the corpus than the just head involved here.

— Ken Waxman

Track Listing: 1. Calefazione prima (l'incoronata) 2. Calefazione seconda 3. Calefazione terza 4. Calefazione quarta 5. Calefazione quinta 6. Calefazione sesta 7. Caledoscopio #1 8. Calefazione settima 9. Calefazione ottava 10. Calefazione nona 11. Caledoscopio #2 12. Calefazione decima 13. Calefazione unidicesima 14. Caledoscopio #3 15. Calefazione dodicesima 16. Calefazione tredicesima 17. Calefazione quattordicesima 18. Calefazione quindicesima 19. Caledoscopio #4 (ultimo)

Personnel: Giancarlo Locatelli (Bb clarinet, alto clarinet, bass clarinet ); Bb clarinet, alto clarinet, bass clarinet); Alberto Braida (piano)