JASON ROBINSON / ANTHONY DAVIS – Cerulean Landscape

Clean Feed

Poor “official” jazz reviewers, at least the really skilled ones, belong to a category that I sincerely admire. Writing on jazz and related topics without recurring to stereotypes is hard, unless the customary “let’s rehash the career” approach is introduced, the writeup typically finished by a couple of lines lyophilizing the disc’s content after entire paragraphs devoted to historic comparisons, previous landmarks and – when courage abounds – laughable (for lack of serious playing experience) descriptions of the instrumental action. Accordingly, Cerulean Landscape – the latest outing by reedist Robinson (three saxes and flute) and pianist Davis – is an album for which a plethora of words for a detailed description can’t be found, but there’s no problem in calling it simply beautiful. Its general aspect may evoke decrepit adjectives such as “lyrical” and “pensive”, yet the overall sense of harmonic respite and the lingering scents of meditative gradualness are often replaced by sections where complicated intertwinings of angular conjectures and swirling symmetries strike the attention rather significantly. The artists declare Duke Ellington as an essential influence on their current and earlier work, but somehow this ignorant reporter paralleled the melancholy and the somber moods of certain Davis suggestions to scattered pages from Gordon Beck’s book. Robinson is naturally flawless himself: the marriage of intelligible density and thoughtful respect – both for the partner and the music – defines everything that is blown through his instruments, a belief in superior designs alimenting illusions of transcendence that sometimes materialize into tangible signs.

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