Albert Cirera/Ramon Prats

DUOT
Repitidor No #

Steffen Roth/Bruno Angeloni

Spirale

Jazz Werkstatt JW 203

Give the drummer some” is an old-time Jazz jam session expression and what characterizes these two thoroughly modern duo sessions is that the ideas and variations of the percussionist is as central to the CD’s resolution as the saxophonist’s imperatives. At the same time these fully improvised discs aren’t percussion flaunts either. Instead balance is reflected in invention. They also reflect sympathetic forged partnerships

Although located far from the major Jazz capitals. Leipzig-based Spirale is tenor and soprano saxophonist Bruno Angeloni, who has played with the likes of Andrew Cyrille, and Michael Zerang and drummer Steffen Roth, whose experience encompasses work with Julia Kadel and Achim Tang. Farther south, the members of Barcelona’s Duot duo have been playing together since 2007. Tenor and soprano saxophonist Albert Cirera also works with the likes of Marcelo Dos Reis and Hernani Faustino, while drummer Ramon Prats has played with everyone from Lee Konitz to Mats Gustafsson. Both also often play with Agustí Fernández.

Generating an identity as early as “Cúpula 1”, Cirera and Prats expand duo variables without upsetting the protracted relationship that range from flat-line reed blowing and sparse percussion patterns created with wire brushes to the dissonance of altissimo snarls and buzzing vibrations. And this careful equivalence is maintained throughout the session’s six selections. That is for every sequence of ferocious rolls, pops and ruffs, there’s an equivalent tongue-stretching exercise involving slurred multiphonics that appear to emanate from within the saxophone bow before detouring into glossolalia. As pronounced those passages are there are others in which unstoppable reed breaths move up the scale alongside relaxed pitches and diminutive animal-like cymbal scratches/ No less powerful, they also reveal an innate melodic undercurrent.

These fluctuating impulses reach a climax on the penultimate “Cúpula 5” where thematic variations splinter and shatter every which way. After lower case drum top daubs lock in with key percussion and shallow breaths from the saxophonist, a further motif revolves around Prats’ ruffs, rumbles and rebounds as Cirera’s circular breathing on soprano saxophone creates a continuously challenging line that is matched with equally speedy drum beats until both expositions join then fade simultaneously. From that point on what’s left is a coda of distant air-expelled saxophone blows and moderately paced drum rolls. Although sometimes interrupted by altissimo shrieks, bell ringing and paradiddles, “Cúpula 6” provides both a rumbling link to the introduction and an understated finale.

Spirale’s five improvisations are just as powerful as those on DUOT, but with slightly less shading as clarion reed twists and triple pumps, hi-hat and bass drum elaborations predominate. Roth is also more likely to construct an exposition out of bass drum clouts, lug loosening and tightening and J. Arthur Rank-like gong emphasis than Prats. Yet his beats are clean and responsive both meeting highly elevated and bottom-clinging textures and in mid range. As for Angeloni, his expression strategies range from outputting nephritic snarls from his tenor saxophone to creating sharp soprano saxophone squeaks. With reed outpouring joined in broken octave consideration by rim shots, hi-hat taps and wood slaps from the drummer, the two frequently agree on suitably mellow chromatic asides.

On the other hand, not only does mid-range cultivation also illuminate the tunes, but also a certain Blues-like conception and rhythm slips in as well. The final “Erinnerung”, for instance, find Angeloni blasting agitated open horn variations that relate as much to Big Jay McNeely as Albert Ayler and quirkily contradict ballad intensions as much as they celebrate them. As the narrative become faster, looser and stimulating, the drummer adds to the intensity with a collection of bell-tree jangles and bass drum smacks. The ultimate in mood-shattering arrives before that with Segment II”. Inflated sopranissimo-pitched yelps evolve alongside rolls, scrapes and Mylar rubs from Roth. Later, as an assembly line of split tones and renal passages from the saxophonist whoosh forward the exposition is regularized by bass drum finesse from Roth, Finally the last section features a parade-ground like bass drum pulse and gong rhythm that maintains the earth-bound connection as the saxophonist continuously explores the highest register.

Notable saxophone-drums interactions are ably demonstrated on these discs. What is also confirmed is that this duo format has plenty of room to evolve with the right players. Additionally they confirm that not all adept playing takes place in major musical centres.

—Ken Waxman

Track Listing: Spirale: 1. Repetition Is A Prayer 2. Segment I 3. Litanía 4. Segment II 5. Erinnerung

Personnel: Spirale: Bruno Angeloni (tenor and soprano saxophones) and Steffen Roth (drums)

Track Listing: DUOT: 1. Cúpula 1 2. Cúpula 2 3. Cúpula 3 4. Cúpula 4 5. Cúpula 5 6. Cúpula 6

Personnel: DUOT: Albert Cirera (tenor and soprano saxophones) and Ramon Prats (drums)