Musical fruitfulness doesn’t come easy. But in an improvisation between two men who are playing together for the first time, something incredible can happen: the instantaneous poignancy of the just-generated material, the visible sparks of the respective imaginations, the concrete explanation behind that fundamental instinct which pushes gifted humans to attempt a creative act to look into themselves to begin with, and communicate with fellow talented specimens later on.
Zone De Memoire is the result of one of those born-in-heaven encounters. Pianist Hubert Bergmann and reedist Gilad Atzmon recorded these magnificent seven tracks in an afternoon, prior to a concert of the latter with Sarah Gillespie at Überlingen, on Lake Constance. Already in the opening exchanges of the initial “Roof Of Clouds” it is quite evident that there was no mâitre around to make sure that the champagne was being served. Straight away, the couple enters the areas where there is nothing else besides those intelligible figurations, significance distilled from an alternance of passionate inflexions and softened accents, occasionally leaving room to precious instants where riveting intuitions and an impressive sense of anticipation prevail on a potentially damaging paroxysm, turning impromptu gestures into a contrapuntal logic of the highest order.
Piano, alto and soprano saxophones, clarinet. Well known colours, both in jazz and free music at large, appearing all the more familiar when there’s no need of radical disruptions to hit the right spots in a listener. Bergmann’s touch and physical mastery on the keyboard are decisively solid despite a lingering romantic aura; Atzmon seems to exhale melancholy even when the fire in his tone burns hot, sheltering hopes and fears under hundreds of melodic insights. You are not going to experience the kind of inner laceration caused by the harshest types of sonic message; and yet, ATZBE belong to that category of unstained virtuosos that manage to appear noble and unpretentious at once. The ones who suggest us to leave whatever we’re doing, and get the instrument in our hands again for the few inestimable minutes of wordless contentment that life still reserves beyond bogus cosmic connections and ever-torn nets.