Music Reviews

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Artist: Daniel Levin / Rob Brown (@)
Title: Divergent Paths
Format: CD
Label: Cipsela (@)
Rated: *****
The third entry of improv-oriented Portuguese label Cipsela, the second I introduce on this webzine, comes from a couple of musicians that manage to show a significant talent in matching attractive dynamics and unconventional performative techniques. Hampton-born skilled saxophonist Rob Brown - the first time I listened to something by Rob was his second collaborations with well-known pianist Matthew Shipp - and cellist Daniel Levin from Burlington, Vermont, are good pals and shared their performative skills on many stages, so I won't say their paths entirely diverged on this release! The explanation of the title seems to refer to the hijinks by an airline company and the booking of a supposedly non-existing flight that struck the duo in Poznan, Poland, so that they had to delay this scheduled performance at Salao Brazil in Coimbra for two days. Such an experience could not have had but an influence on the frequent devious twists and turns by Rob on his alto saxophone that are often followed by that kind of tonal sequence by Levin that could be the perfect soundtrack for that kind of headache that could rise when you get stuck in urban traffic. Besides the last association, they cover a broad range of timbres, textures, gestures, chops and technical virtuosities, where they seem to look for matching points and harmonic and disharmonic balances by building more and more permanent bridges. A plenty of bridges that sound like collapsing over the 17 minutes of "Mutuality", the first improvisation, till a precarious equilibrium of "Match Point", the shortest improvisation after the long "Dialogue" in the middle of the performance. In spite of many "advanced" techniques, the listening experience they provided could be a useful introduction to "binary" improv sessions.



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