Paul Giallorenzo GitGo

Force Majeure
Delmark Records DE 5015

Unheralded it would seem, except in Chicago where he plays gigs ranging from mainstream Jazz to electro-acoustic experiments, on this CD, pianist Paul Giallorenzo has composed seven tracks which snugly fit a niche perhaps no one else new existed: the sliver between Free Bop and Free Jazz.

Most tracks offer up the heft and development you would have expected from the Jazz Messengers at their peak, but the tunes are tempered with solos that take into account unusual techniques found in more experimental music created since then. Besides Giallorenzo, who has worked with the likes of bassist Ingebrigt Håker Flaten and drummer Tim Daisy, the GitGo quintet gets its’ Jazz Messenger-like power from trombonist Jeb Bishop, reedist Mars Williams, bassist Anton Hatwich and drummer Quin Kirchner.

Between Williams’ timbre-stretching which can range from R&B-styled honking to Aylerian multiphonics, and Bishop’s tempered slurs which bring to mind Roswell Rudd as well as rugged early Jazz stylists, the performances don’t cleave to a narrow furrow either. For instance “Fits and Starts” has such an explosion of reed split tones and cries at the top that you’d think you were in New Thing territory. That is until Bishop’s harsh masculine tone moves the sound back to 1930s emulations; and Giallorenzo thoroughly confuses the follow- through with a piano solo that appears to start with rent-part-like comping and mutates into a variant of Cecil Taylor-like contrasting dynamics.

Other pieces rely on melding the pianist’s key clips, the drummer’s backbeat and see-sawing challenges from the trombonist’s pre-modern slurs and growls with the saxophonist’s unique sing-song split tone extensions. Hatwich’s bowed bass provides the backdrop for “A Tone”, an unself-conscious exercise in 12-tone row writing, as each soloist in turn cannily limits himself to short broken phrases which succeed one another; then finally knit into a satisfying whole.

There’s also “Roscoe Far I” , with which its juddering, swift tango-like rhythm sounds more like an homage to Anthony Braxton than Roscoe Mitchell, although Mitchell was one of Giallorenzo’s mentors. Mixing drawing- room piano chording, Reggae-styled drumming and a happy theme advanced by Williams on soprano or alto, it appears the perfect conclusion for this profound, yet unpretentious disk. Suddenly though, after a 40-second pause and the replication of a needle hitting an LP groove, the melody begins again. This time out the mood is more intense and well as buoyant. Hatwich’s solid bass line beat could be coming from an electric bass to such an extent that he and Kirchner together could be a Windy City variant on Sly & Robbie.

Strong playing coupled with interesting themes suggest that more exposure outside his city’s limits is in order for Giallorenzo.

—Ken Waxman

Track Listing: 1. Force Majeure 2. Fits and Starts 3. Rocky Terrain 4. Reverberations 5. Blowings On 6. A Tone 7. Roscoe for I

Personnel: Jeb Bishop (trombone); Mars Williams (soprano, alto and tenor saxophones); Paul Giallorenzo (piano); Anton Hatwich (bass) and Quin Kirchner (drums)