Trevor Watts: soprano and alto saxophones; Veryan Weston: piano

There comes a point in the life of a presumed music expert where a small indefinite amount of agnosticism starts creeping into the soul to suggest things that once were not even considered. That’s precisely when an acoustic transcription like this – possessing equivalent doses of logic, heart and intuition – causes contrasting responses in that listener, as drilled as he/she may be. The alternatives are multiple: intellectual comparability, graphic specification, farfetched technicism, rehashing of the artist’s CV with two lines of commentary about the specific record’s perception (aka “syndrome of the groggy critic”). Parts of these issues are tackled in Brian Morton’s liners, eruditely dead-on and yet obviously unproductive in terms of giving an idea of the contents to those unacquainted with the players. But, isn’t that the case of every attempt to expound top-rank improvisation? As Sade would have it, is it a crime?

In the end, 5 More Dialogues might be corresponding to a study on assorted methods of offhand reasoning. The performers’ will of typifying each tête-à-tête with something totally untested is distinctly sensed, yet the junctures in which the improvisational grain sounds familiar are numerous. Without appearing hermetic, several reciprocations recur to a degree of “natural maths” to create a fecund soil for the sparser inside-looking materials (some of the latter a sizeable portion of the disc’s finest belongings). We can get lost in chordal washes accentuated by outspoken melodies, or try and dissect the compatibility of knotty intertwinings and unsentimental movements while still unable to exactly measure what is being played. Quite frequently we remained deep in thought in front of the mix of crackerjack meticulousness and originative tenseness characterizing the most concentrated stretches. At the same time, this doesn’t resemble the kind of album one is compulsively pushed to return to; rather, an absorbing document from a nice pair of levelheaded masters of the game.

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