Odd Couple Of Great Releases

WILL HOLSHOUSER TRIO + BERNARDO SASSETTI – Palace Ghosts And Drunken Hymns

Holshouser and Sassetti had shared a stage for the first time in 2004, this album coming five years later as an expected corollary of that initial meeting. The accordionist and the pianist penned the entirety of the program, except for Carlos Paredes’ “Dança Palaciana” which opens the CD. The line-up is completed by Ron Horton on trumpet and David Phillips on bass. Portugal’s musical roots, landscapes and urban environments are admittedly an essential influence on this work, which alternates moments of wholehearted joy – characteristically expressed by odd-metered tunes and folk-ish themes led by Holshouser’s accordion – and pensive reminiscences in which Sassetti’s piano emerges with the customary assortment of introspective melancholy but – a bit of a revelation here – also with a measure of discordant diversity, exemplified by the angular figurations of “Irreverence”. The most lyrical traits, though, emerge courtesy of Horton, whose lines produce immediate images of vulnerability enriched by a rare quality of perceptive self-discipline, letting him appear as the real lead figure in this circumstance. Phillips is a clever, ever-efficient supporter, furnishing the interplay with unambiguous contrapuntal suggestions that help the music to remain anchored to a reality that often tends to be forgotten in such a kind of context. A brilliantly rendered example of instrumental narrative mixing popular and experimental factors. (Clean Feed)

JACK GOLD-MOLINA TRIO – Colored Houses

Besides being a drummer who sounds as bad intentioned as wisely inclined towards the clever decomposition of regular pulses, Gold-Molina is the man behind Sol Disk, the label on which this fiercely unapologetic CD is published. In this occasion, he is flanked by Michael Bisio on bass and Michael Monhart on soprano, tenor and baritone saxophones. This is one of those albums who meet my unconditional approval since the very first notes heard, as one instantly detects a genuine will of exploring the soul of the music in a way that is both radical and linked to some kind of primeval root. There’s a shamanic quality to the playing, the performers stopping on certain figures to launch themselves into the spirals of repetitive patterns and interlocking rhythms, that directly connects their heart to the improvisational core. Gold-Molina leaves us flummoxed with a constant change in the percussive flow, utilizing mechanics of expression that discard the obviously bewitching aspects of free drumming to enhance the spiritual quintessence of an everlasting uninhibited groove. Bisio offers a spectacular performance, especially when using the arco over the course of long droning mantras (such as in “Water Lilies”) and extended fragments of melodic fearlessness, a timbre inflexibly rooted in a fertile ground of significant achievements, a lexicon – as ever – definitely unique. Monhart exalts every nuance of his reeds, transmitting signals of perturbation and raking the remnants of expository melody to generate anti-themes and solos completely disengaged from classic formulas, a well-visible star in an already extraordinarily clear sky. Records like Colored Houses prove that there’s still hope for emotional reaction when listening to a jazz album. Extremely recommended.

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