01 WOWJazz is sufficiently diverse, divisive and sometimes just plain obscure so that plenty of people who like some facet of it might never knowingly recognize others as anything like jazz. Trio Derome Guilbeault Tanguay is somehow different, a group of avant-gardists whose wildly eclectic performance might make any listener respond at some point with a shock of recognition. Their latest CD, Wow! (Ambiances Magnétiques AM 209), takes its name from a composition by the great experimenter Lennie Tristano, but when it appears it’s a segue from You Can Depend on Me by Earl Hines, a pianist whom Tristano idolized and emulated. Similarly, when saxophonist Jean Derome sings a barroom version of The Best Things in Life Are Free or takes on The Baron, Eric Dolphy’s musical portrait of Charles Mingus, he and bassist Normand Guilbeault and drummer Pierre Tanguay are calling up the whole of the jazz past in a kind of feast that anyone with empathy for the music might pick up on. It’s one of Canada’s essential bands, whatever your sub-genre of choice.

02 ShiranthaShirantha Beddage, originally from North Bay, Ontario, has gone from studies at Toronto’s Humber College to a doctorate from the Eastman School of Music and back to Humber, where he’s currently head of theory and harmony. There are also plenty of fine saxophone teachers in Beddage’s past, including Toronto tenors Pat LaBarbera and Alex Dean and New York baritone saxophonist supreme Gary Smulyan. Based on the evidence of Identity (Addo AJR012 www.addorecords­.com), Beddage has a well-developed identity on the demanding baritone, playing with real power and focusing on the instrument’s middle and upper register, working in tenor saxophone territory with the baritone’s added grit. His style is essentially hard bop, with infusions of blues and gospel, but he’s also compelling on ballads like The Wanderer. Trumpeter Nathan Eklund, pianist Dave Restivo, bassist Mike Downes and drummers Mark Kelso or Larnell Lewis provide able assistance.

03 OrganicAs heard on Live at Joe Mama’s, the Toronto band Organic (organic-jazz.com) is set in the classic mould of the organ quartet, those bands that first flourished in U.S. inner cities in the 1950s, when the Hammond B3 organ migrated from storefront churches to bars and mixed gospel chords and rhythm ‘n’ blues, transposing the riffing style of bands like Count Basie’s to the amplified power of a Hammond organ joined by drums, electric guitar and/or tenor sax. Veteran pianist Bernie Senensky has adapted handily to the organ, playing with the rhythmic verve the style demands and adding plenty of harmonic subtlety to the mix. Drummer Morgan Childs and guitarist Nathan Hiltz maintain strong grooves, while tenor saxophonist Ryan Oliver channels the particularly tight vibrato and upper register split-tones of the great Stanley Turrentine. Everyone sounds inspired on Amsterdamage.

04 Heillig ManoeuvreAnother veteran, bassist Henry Heillig, leads a new version of his Heillig Manoeuvre on ’Toons (RM 6013 www.heilligman.com). It’s relaxed, entertaining music with Heillig’s cartoon-inspired compositions eliciting good performances all around, whatever the tempo or mood, from the bluesy Meet the Sprintphones to the rapid-fire Moose and Squirrel. The surprising thing is that the cartoon inspirations often lead to deeply felt music. The highlight is the elusive, dreamlike Nanaimo Crossing, with Alison Young’s tenor saxophone and Stacie McGregor’s electric piano floating over the lightest of Latin beats from Heillig and drummer Charlie Cooley.

05 In a suggestive wayToronto native Quinsin Nachoff has been based in New York for a few years now, establishing himself solidly in a city with no shortage of distinct and inventive saxophonists. Nachoff is heard to fine effect on French drummer Bruno Tocanne’s In a Suggestive Way (Instant Musics IMR 007 instantmusics.com), dedicated to the late drummer Paul Motian whose subtle dynamic play and sense of freedom have clearly influenced Tocanne. The instrumentation is a little unusual, a quartet completed by the virtuoso New York pianist Russ Lossing who played and recorded with Motian on many occasions and French trumpeter Rémi Gaudillat, but the results are a particularly lucid reflection. Nachoff’s theme statement of Bruno Rubato is limpidly beautiful against Lossing’s crystalline piano, while there’s crackling intensity in the splintering horn solos on Gaudillat’s Ornette and Don.

06 Stanko-WislawaDavid Virelles, who first came to attention in Toronto as the brilliant protégé of Jane Bunnett and who won the Oscar Peterson prize at Humber College, continues with his brilliant career as one of New York’s most notable younger pianists with appearances on two ECM releases that will vie for spots on international top ten lists. Virelles is now a member of Polish trumpeter Tomasz Stanko’s New York Quartet along with bassist Thomas Morgan and drummer Gerald Cleaver. The group debuts on Wisława (ECM 2304/05). The music often explores Stanko’s darkly moody ballads and dirges, pensive music that glows with an inner light; at other points the group develops explosive free improvisations with an empathy so developed that ideas pass at will among the members of the quartet.

07 SirensVirelles also turns up on Chris Potter’s The Sirens (ECM 2258), a suite based on The Odyssey in which Potter develops rich and varied textures using two pianists, Craig Taborn on a regular grand and Virelles on prepared piano, celeste and harmonium. The two musicians develop a subtle dialogue around interlocking ostinatos on Wayfinder, while Potter’s brilliant Coltrane-inspired invocation on the title track summons up all the hypnotic powers that music might possess.

Having arguably reached its zenith of popularity in the 1960s with the legendary Oscar Peterson and Bill Evans combos, the piano, bass and drums trio continues to be the sine qua non for countless improvisers. But with any jazz trio performance weighted with the configuration’s illustrious history, it’s up to contemporary players to create a distinct musical personality.

01 Jeff DavisUsually this is done subtly, as New York-based drummer Jeff Davis demonstrates on Leaf House (Fresh Sound New Talent FSNW407 freshsoundrecords.com). A frequent associate of Canadian-in-Brooklyn bassist Michael Bates, the drummer knows the value of a sophisticated timekeeper and has found one in Norwegian-born Eivind Opsvik. More crucially with Russ Lossing at the piano, the leader’s eight compositions are interpreted in a fashion which suggests an alternate piano trio history. Rather than the influence of either Peterson or Evans looming large — as it does for too many of their followers — Lossing operates at the edge of atonality while never abandoning the legato. Throughout, his mixture of perceptive pacing, with forays into the instrument’s highest and lowest portals, plus a touch that ranges from intermittent key dusting to rock-ribbed staccato power, suggests a lineage that takes in Herbie Nichols, Lowell Davidson and Paul Bley, but just skirts Cecil Taylor’s revolutionary keyboard transformations. With such an arsenal of effects literally at his fingertips, the pianist can bring forth whatever is needed to illustrate individual Davis tunes. For instance the connections and variations that define Catbird’s conclusions are very Bley-like, especially when the bassist restates the motif with which he began the piece, the better to again bond with the feather-light and gently chromatic melody he and the pianist first played. On the other hand the kineticism that marks tunes like the title track and the loping Faded relate back to Nichols, as Lossing elasticizes lines without breaking the chromatic thrust, while the drummer’s cuffs and clips or poised rim shots meet walking or bowed bass with sympathetic pacing. William Jacob may be the CD’s highpoint though. Moving from a lyrical exposition to a tremolo finale, the pianist craftily strengthens his touch and doubles his attack as the piece evolves, dovetailing into power chords from Opsvik and aggregated ruffs and rebounds from Davis before the conclusion.

02 Dreilander TrioInterestingly enough, the pared-down approach of Canadian Bley, who often toured Europe, is one of the modes expressed by veteran Italian pianist Claudio Cojaniz, on the dozen instant compositions that make up Dreiländer Trio (Palomar Records 39 www.giovannimaier.it). Someone who often records solo, the pianist also infuses the tunes with large dollops of entrancing romanticism, and as might be expected from an Italian, matter-of-fact lyricism. At the same time, despite his expressive glissandi and busy note collections, neither his dynamics nor his touch are ever over the top. His innate jazz-swing sense ensures that each tune evolves in a linear fashion. Moreover since the band is a cooperative trio, bassist Giovanni Maier from Trieste and Serbian percussionist Zlatko Kaučič,who has worked with the likes of American saxophonist Steve Lacy, are equally as important to this CD’s achievement. An adept colourist, the drummer is so self-effacing that the rhythm is often felt rather than heard. A master of cymbal shimmering, bell-tree shaking plus drum clanking, clipping and paddling, he cedes musical flamboyance to the other two. Maier, who is an experienced duo and trio player, takes full advantage, properly interrupting the pianist’s cascading glissandi on m&M with double stopping and rubber band-like plucks from his strings and bringing a stirring cello-like range to Trieste-Amman. Along with Kaučič’s pinpointed clatters, Maier’s bow swipes add a needed toughness to the tune which otherwise is characterized by Cojaniz repeating note clusters in many keys, barely skirting 19th century impressionism. At the same time the pianist’s command of Evans-styled passing chords and patterns doesn’t stop him on a piece like Izpoved from deconstructing the gospel-like theme, making it more staccato so that it’s no longer European, but not quite American either.

03 Friedli TrioSwiss pianist Gabriela Friedli also adapts the Bley-Evans concept, albeit with a harder touch on Started (Intakt CD 214 www.intaktrec.ch). But her mixture of notated and improvising designs is part of a subtle avant-gardism that hides underneath lyrical narratives. Aided by Daniel Studer’s measured bass plucks and drummer Dieter Ulrich’s smooth pacing, she specializes in contrafacts of other tunes, telegraphing the transformation in song titles. Come Lately relates to Duke Ellington’s Johnny Come Lately; Out of Nothing to Johnny Green’s Out of Nowhere; and no prizes for figuring out the chord origin of I Wrap My Dreams in Troubles. Atop Studer’s chiming beat the last melody is stretched out by Friedli with expansive dynamics. The middle piece becomes a double-time exercise in fleeting cadenzas and string plucks from the pianist, contrasted with sul tasto rubs from the bassist, plus bull’s eye rim shots and cymbal pops from the drummer. As for Come Lately, Studer’s funky bass slaps and Ulrich’s backbeat underline the piece’s basic rhythm and blues feeling. Not content with that, the pianist makes the narrative tougher and more staccato with low frequency cadenzas and note clusters, eventually climaxing as she spins out emphasized glissandi while the drummer’s contrapuntal thumps emphasize wood and metal.

04 Michel LambertIf the preceding groups quietly subvert the piano trio, the most radical reworking of the concept comes from Montreal drummer Michel Lambert. Assisted by pianist Alexandre Grogg and bassist Guillaume Bouchard his Journal Des Épisodes (Rant 1244 www.jazzfromrant.com) is made of 92 [!] brief tracks originally composed for symphony orchestra, re-jigged to fit this format. Although tracks officially clock in at between six seconds and five minutes – with the majority fewer than 30 seconds – the end product sounds like anything but patchwork. Much of the credit has to go to Grogg who manages to maintain the narrative nature of his playing, even if the musical thoughts are interrupted by frequent pauses. Bouchard mostly concentrates on steady rhythmic motions; while Lambert not only exposes every variety of beats from Latin to arrhythmic to near-terpsichorean, but is likely responsible for the sonic add-ons. Besides slide-whistle shrills and alphorn lowing, snippets from a full orchestral usually in romantic mode frequently bisect the performances. Given his head as he has on Sans Commentaire II plus R 59 Liquide or Jour De Célébration the pianist is able to display power voicing matched by Lambert’s ruffs and rolls or showcase moderato fingertip explorations matched by the drumtop strokes and cymbal shakes. When episodes inflate to a whole three minutes on Le Marteau or six [!] on L’homme-Ciseaux the trio comes across with sophistication. Straight-ahead jazz, the former mixes repeated octave jumps and key clipping with press rolls and a thumping bass solo. Even more swing-oriented, the latter is cunningly harmonized with a walking bass line, rolls, drags and ruffs from Lambert and sparkling piano work encompassing tremolo runs and a sprinkling of ringing notes.

Accepting the weight of history, but cunningly or conspicuously moving familiar concepts into new areas, these combos preserve the piano trio for the 21st century. 

01 Dave Young-aOctet Volume One
Dave Young; Terry Promane
University of Toronto

Recorded at Drive Shed Studio, Toronto, May 24 and 25, 2012, with Kevin Turcotte, trumpet/flugel horn; Vern Dorge, alto saxophone; Mike Murley, tenor saxophone; Terry Promane, trombone; Perry White, baritone saxophone; Gary Williamson, piano; Dave Young, bass; Terry Clarke, drums.

A look at the line-up of this band tells you right off that you can look forward to some great playing, and this CD will certainly live up to your expectations. The music consists of three originals, two composed and arranged by Terry Promane, one written and arranged by Rick Wilkins, and seven jazz standards.

When I say jazz standards I don’t mean songs from the golden age of popular song, but compositions by jazz musicians which have over time become musicians’ standards. They are arranged by Dave Young and range from the Dizzy Gillespie classic A Night In Tunisia, through Stompin’ At The Savoy to Better Git It In Your Soul by Charles Mingus. Along the way there is a lovely version of Thad Jones’ To You.

The musicianship and creativity shown by this top notch group make it hard to single out any one member, but I have to say that for me it is particularly satisfying to hear the playing of Gary Williamson. He is respected by fellow musicians but his talents far exceed his level of recognition with the jazz public. If you like interesting well-arranged numbers played by outstanding players who understand where the music comes from you can buy this recording online at Indie Pool, CD Baby or iTunes.

02 Allison AuThe Sky Was Pale Blue, Then Grey
Allison Au Quartet

Recorded May 30 and June 6 and 13, 2012, at Inception Sound Studios, Toronto, this disc features Allison Au, alto saxophone; Todd Pentney, piano, Rhodes and Hammond B3; Jonathan Maharaj, acoustic and electric bass; Fabio Ragnelli, drums and auxiliary percussion; Felicity Williams, vocals.

There is no doubting the wealth of young musical talent playing contemporary creative music and Allison Au is certainly among that number. This debut CD is a program of original compositions showcasing the playing of this talented group. The music is not “easy listening” and you have to be able and willing to broaden your listening boundaries if you belong in the more traditional category of listeners; but it is an opportunity to venture into pastures new.

There is a strong melodic feel to her compositions; La-Da-Dee and Tired Face, co-composed with pianist Pentney, are good examples. And speaking of Pentney I have to acknowledge the first-rate playing of the rhythm section which makes a major contribution to this recording.

Interesting footnote: the album title piece is intercut with excerpts from a discussion between John Cage and Morton Feldman which is interesting first time around but could be a bit intrusive with repeated listening. Just my opinion.

That said, I think you’ll hear more of Allison Au in the future. This CD is available on iTunes, CD Baby and Amazon.

03 AttaccaO’ The Emotions
Schraum 15 (www.schraum.de)

Named for the musical direction at a movement’s end that indicates the next sequence must follow immediately, this CD’s 10 tracks do just that, exposing a series of clanking, resonating and breathing timbres that meld exquisitely. As significantly, the players source electronic-like properties from acoustic instruments, using unusual techniques and patterning, not processing or mechanical synthesis.

Part of the reason for O’ The Emotions’ achievement is the mixing and mastering skills of the trio’s guitarist, Calgary-born, McGill Music-educated Dave Bennett. But there’s little post-production prestidigitation. A Berlin-resident since 2003, Bennett’s unfussy string-hammering instead creates a percussive undertow that he and resolute German bassist Axel Haller slip into to provide ballast behind their own solos as well as those of captivatingly unique trombonist Matthias Müller, another German. Using tongue stops, air puffed through his horn’s body tube without slide or valve movement, slurs and whistles, Müller’s resulting lowing growl and narrow breaths are more bravura than brassy. Squirming with protoplasmic intensity his inventions assert themselves but without demanding centre stage. Similarly, both Haller’s pumping stentorian loops and Bennett’s racking twangs and string-rattles add to a constantly evolving production without disruption.

Definition is finally created out of sonic chaos with the concluding Living by Fiction. A series of organ-like glissandi made up equally of bow sweeps across double bass strings; splayed guitar licks and concentrated trombone grace notes achieve a climax of dense, polyphonic textures radiating every which way. The CD is another example of the unexpected aural adventures available that are hardly reflected by a mere listing of the players’ instrumentation.


01 towns and villagesToronto drummer Nick Fraser has a strong presence across the spectrum of modern jazz, but he’s particularly prominent in free jazz projects like the band Drumheller and the Lina Allemano Four. He’s taken an emphatic role as composer and bandleader as well as drummer on Towns and Villages (Barnyard Records BR0330 barnyardrecords.com), putting together a quartet with regular associates Rob Clutton on bass and Andrew Downing on cello along with tenor and soprano saxophonist Tony Malaby, one of New York’s most explosive musicians. The CD opens with a wall of overblown tenor and gritty bowed strings, but it’s a group with many levels and colours, from ballads with Malaby on soprano to intriguing circular compositions in which Fraser’s motifs are repeated by the saxophone and cello, synchrony gradually breaking down into echo. Everyone involved is clearly inspired by the meeting: it might be a band for a day, but it’s a great one.

02 Romberg Crab PeopleAnother Toronto drummer, veteran Barry Romberg, leads Random Access, a loose-knit band with a fluid personnel but a consistent ability to generate lively, interesting music. Part 12: Crab People (Romhog 123 barryromberg.com) is a 2-CD set devoted largely to Romberg’s compositions with shifting time signatures and largely modal underpinnings, giving everyone involved sufficient stimulation and adequate space to develop their ideas. The band changes from track to track, from three to six musicians, and the electric fusion quotient changes as well, depending on whether the bass is acoustic (Kieran Overs or Julian Anderson Bowes) or electric (Rich Brown), whether there’s one or two guitarists (Geoff Young and Ben Monder) present, or keyboards (Robi Botos) or tablas (Ravi Naimpally), but these sessions are at a consistently high level. Saxophonist Kelly Jefferson and trumpeter Kevin Turcotte contribute forcefully to the title track, while tenor saxophonist Kirk MacDonald distinguishes himself on End of an Era.

03 CarrierQuebecois saxophonist François Carrier travels and records frequently and he’s built up a discography that may be larger and more varied than any other Canadian musician playing free jazz. He and drummer Michel Lambert have wandered as far afield as Kathmandu while playing with a cavalcade of international musicians. Just the pianists include Paul Bley, Uri Caine, Bobo Stenson and the newly arrived Russian Alexey Lapin. Their latest adventure is Shores and Ditches (FMR CD CD340-0512 francoiscarrier.com), and while there’s no recording data, the sidemen suggest an English locale. On an unaccompanied track, Carrier emphasizes the sweetness of his keening alto sound, stretching notes to the point where it sounds like a free jazz version of Harlem Nocturne. Duets with Lambert emphasize the propulsive dialogue, while a long episodic trio improvisation with Guillaume Viltard is artfully enhanced by the bassist’s sustained and virtuosic mastery of both arco and pizzicato techniques. Viltard, guitarist Daniel Thompson and flutist Neil Metcalfe appear on a collective improvisation, an effectively sustained exploration highlighted by Metcalfe’s distinctive clarity of line.

04 cameraDavid Occhipinti is a masterful guitarist, possessed of some of the fluid lyricism and harmonic subtlety of his former teacher Jim Hall, but he’s also serious about composition, as fascinated by the possibilities of chamber music as he is by improvisation. Camera (Occdav Music OM006 davidocchipinti.com) presents two long suites by two different ensembles and two stand-alone pieces, engaging multi-hued pieces that mix and match methods in the same spirit as Frank Zappa’s serious music, like The Perfect Stranger.

Demonstrating that accepted musical customs are often shibboleths — the equivalent of not wearing white after Labour Day — contemporary improvisers frequently express themselves unconventionally — even when it comes to instrumental choices. Take for example the fine duo sessions here. Unaccompanied by others, the players prove that there are enough textures available from nearly identical instruments to create full sound pictures. These sets show not only how much can be done with two guitars — a common combination — but also by two percussion sets, not to mention two saxophones of similar ranges and timbres.

01 StonesRecorded at the Vancouver International Jazz Festival, Stones (Rue Grammofon RCD 2136 CD runegrammofon.com) matches the tenor and baritone saxophone of Swede Mats Gustafsson with the alto and bass saxophones of Montreal’s Colin Stetson. Although the strength and power available from lower-pitched woodwinds gives the two licence for frequent displays of sternum-shaking and bone-rattling overblowing, the four selections highlight more than just quivering throaty growls. Scattered throughout the dense and nearly opaque duets are mellow connective sequences and some that are created with panache. True, the elegance of tracks such as Stones that Need Not is predicated on acceptance of a climax of slowly melding textures, evolving from one saxman outputting linear tongue smacks and reed sucks, while the other decorates the sequence with chromatic split tones and quivering buzzes. Still, the reed variations are never overly bulky, but instead deconstruct the exposition with crying stutters and emotional in-throat vocalizing. Another strategy, as on Stones that Can Only Be, involves one player concentrating on a pedal-point ostinato with glottal punctuation and finger vibrations, while the second’s altissimo timbres of intense buzzing and slap tonguing decorate the narrative. Such unusual reed techniques may be expected from Gustafsson, whose outstanding free improvisations are on display in many jazz ensembles. However those who only know Stetson from his day job with the pop band Arcade Fire may be shocked and/or impressed.

02 NaglIf Gustafsson and Stetson utilize as well as overcome the elephantine qualities of their mammoth saxes, then London’s Lol Coxhill and Vienna’s Max Nagl transcend the perceived delicacy of their soprano saxophones’ timbres. Replacing the other saxophonists’ necessary gravitas with playfulness, the two skip through 16 tracks of solos and duos. Entitled In Memory of Lol Coxhill (Rude Noises 021 www.maxnagl.at), the CD celebrates instances where the experiences of Coxhill (1932-2012) as busker and pop sideman, as well as revered improviser, dovetailed with the skills Nagl, 28 years his junior, had amassed composing theatre and film music. Together the two produce profound improvisations that offer levity without a hint of condescension. Probably the best example of this is Charangalia where the saxophonists’ balanced and affiliated tones circle one another, swaying to a near oomph-pah-pah beat. You can almost imagine the players dressed in matching lederhosen, waltzing around the floor as they flutter-tongue their reeds. On his own, Nagl has a predisposition for calypso themes and breaks up the proceedings with brief asides on harpsichord and guitar; meanwhile Coxhill recounts a shaggy dog story in a plummy accent. Still the sonic fun never takes second place to instrumental excellence. On a track such as zweites Stockwerk, for instance, the two create an entire colour palate from a contrapuntal collection of slide-whistle-like trills, reed-biting squeaks and pronounced slurs plus a mellow, single-note interface. Eventually as the bent note distortions meet, a dual narrative emerges that is both multiphonic and moving.

03 EtudesPolyrhythms are the order of the day on Etudes (SoLyd SLR 0414 www.solyd-records.ru), where San Francisco’s Garth Powell and Vilnius resident Vladimir Tarasov share the same extended percussion kit to do a lot more than drum banging. Composers as well as skin beaters, Tarasov and Powell cast these etudes as part faux tutorials and part virtuosic displays. With the American providing brief tongue-in-cheek commentary they proceed to extract beats and vibrations which are often as diaphanous as they are driving. Multiphonic as well as multi-rhythmic, a track like After All suggests the sounds that could arise from a wind machine; while crisp slaps on suspended gongs are matched with friction resulting from violin bows rubbed on cymbals during Strung Up On Your Bow. Picture View Postcards confirms that the correct drum stick sizzle on percussion tops can replicate a dancer’s soft-shoe routine; while the thundering bounces, timely rattles, cascading press rolls and splashing cymbals of No Compensation put aside any doubts as to the drummers’ time-keeping ability, as they swing as effortlessly as Buddy Rich or Max Roach. Despite those skills a track such as My Old Wings is the best example of why they continue to experiment. Spatially organized rather than concentrated, Tarasov and Powell make their triple flams and ratamacues plus mineshaft-deep bass drum reverb reflect the recording space, so that a feeling of powerful motion is present without either having to raise the volume of the performance.

04 HotColdThis sort of relaxed intensity also permeates Hogwild Manifesto (Jungulous 003 www.andersnilssonguitar.com), but the jagged electric guitar lines of the duo called Hot and Cold is closer to hearing two Jimi Hendrixes rather than the sedate picking of Chet Atkins and Les Paul or Herb Ellis and Barney Kessel. American Aaron Dugan and Swede Anders Nilsson are sophisticated enough in so-called post-rock and post-jazz styles that they are easily able to work up a track like For Albert which is both thorny and tuneful, wrapping single note finger-picking with arpeggiated climaxes. Elsewhere, one clunks chords and clicks out a slapping ostinato while the other probes the stratosphere with flanged reverb. They subsequently switch roles then cut off the sound in a split second. Like the other duos here they show they’re also capable of subtle swing. For example they approximate an Ellis-Kessel foot-tapping groove on Night Juice Agenda, than quickly splinter it into fuzz-tone reverb and staccato crunches. Tossing ideas back and forth they touch on Middle Eastern-styled licks and highly legato slurred fingering, contrasting buzzing intensity with an overlay of fingerpicking. Before summing up the meeting with exquisite cascades, innate lyricism is on show as much as heavily processed outer space twangs.

With the inventiveness implicit in free improvisation, contrasting textures can be sourced from instruments supposedly identical in tones and timbres. These duos confirm the thesis.

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