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Dialogue of Insects
How amazing! Suddenly, as if time had accelerated, here, two generations of improvisers meet in a conversation in which nothing is left out and nothing is left to chance. These two exceptional musicians, both living in Berlin, this astonishing city where everything important actually happens, join forces for a memorable session.
On this disk, Harri Sjöström, one of those musicians who have greatly influenced the long and rich history of European improvised music, and Guilherme Rodrigues, performer of already unquestionable acclaim within the new generation of Portuguese improvisers, show a compatibility and complementarity rarely found within the current panorama of free music. In fact both – the founder of the legendary Quintet Moderne and the young cellist born in Lisbon – demonstrate an exceptional proficiency with their respective instruments in this breathtaking session, creating a sound in which sopranino/soprano saxophone and cello combine and contrast, thus bringing forth an unfamiliar, yet distinctly European idiom that owes a lot to the history of jazz (and the legacy of Giuffre, Lacy, Dolphy, and Cora, Honsinger, Reijseger, Holland) as well as contemporary music, reminiscences of which are so clear sometimes.
And when at times Rodrigues brings his cello closer to the sonority and the language of the double bass (in the pizzicato streaks) or Sjöström hints at a ballad of anarchic melancholy, soon a sudden change of direction occurs in the return to a pointillist abstraction, made of unforgettable syncopated fragments – albeit without ever neglecting the dialogue in this conversation about everything and nothing, which the two musicians fuel with their virtuosity in an unparalleled fashion throughout.
They are formidable, these two extraterrestrial insects, with their austere, intimate voices like chamber music. And, remarkably, this exceptional duo confirms the future of European improvised music in this fortunate meeting of two masters.
José Oliveira
Lisbon, March 2019