Sunday, 13 December 2009

Two Pianists


First album as a leader from this artist, and also my first meeting with her playing despite previous collaborations with names such as George E. Lewis, Cecil Taylor, Jöelle Léandre, Barre Philips, Joe Mc Phee. Reason, whose style is defined by rational procedures not involving coldness, is aided by Dominic Duval on bass and John Heward on drums. The interest lies primarily in the apparent slight disjointedness of the respective styles which, quite absurdly, denotes an even more coherent unity of intents. Reason’s flurries might indeed recall some of the most intelligible intuitions of the aforementioned Taylor, yet there is a measure of latent melancholy in the music which sets her personality apart from literal comparisons. The way in which she’s able to decelerate at the right moment and leave any sort of emphasis out, privileging moody smoothness and intellectual elasticity informed by an intelligent dismantling of clichés, is finely highlighted by the uninterrupted meticulousness – mixed to large doses of dissonant fervour – shown by the ever-durable Duval, while Heward applies a mixture of logic and sensitive magnification of certain percussive details to complete a strange kind of inner compatibility. Externally, all of this appears like three distinct ways that, in the end, find a point of convergence from which sizeable quantities of “pragmatically alluring” vibrations are generated. (Circumvention)


The title translates as “a bunch of notes” and perhaps this is exactly what, at the end of the day, weighs down this otherwise pleasant enough record, preventing us from an entirely positive reception. Teubal, a Spanish at birth but now a citizen of Argentina, is a composer who appears to possess some of the right gifts to become a major name in this field. Immaculate technique, an innate proclivity to aurally satisfying combinations, a light veil of nostalgia, room for everybody to improvise. In that sense, La Balteuband (Xavier Perez, Felipe Salles, Moto Fukushima, Franco Pinna, Kobi Salomon, Ivan Baremboin, Greg Heffernan and Marcelo Wolski) is a gorgeous melting pot of styles and influences coming from different areas of the world, counting on musicians endowed with flawless instrumental dexterity. For about three quarters of the CD Teubal manages to sustain our interest with scores that could easily be enjoyed by the true addicts of genuine fusion (I mean of the musically deeper kind - we’re not talking Lee Ritenour here, with all the due respect to the latter), with hints to Oregon, Egberto Gismonti and certain incarnations of Pat Metheny Group. Unfortunately there are also tracks that, on the contrary, sound a little heavier to these ears: excessive solo juggling, insufficient consequence on the memory, tunes lacking a bit of synthesis that seems to exist elsewhere. An accurate selective process would have made this almost perfect (in spite of my time-honored heartlessness for this type of stylistic derivations); instead, a few handfuls of unnecessary ingredients – whose oily taste, regrettably, does remain in the mouth – cause certain episodes of Un Montón De Notas to occasionally overstay their welcome. (Not Yet)