>Window And Doorway
Window and Doorway
Facing sideways between the noonday splendor, a sound directs its crooked grin
Muted impressions for the ear without engendering fleeing but inviting a closer
Expressing a particular possibility for some through which this threshold might
By contextual standards, the trio date—in collaboration with sentient musical beings Steve Swell, trombone, and clarinetist Guillermo Gregorio—reflexively conjures up the idea of a “chamber-esque” setting. Conversely, the Chicago-based quintet, featuring reedists Dave Rempis and Keefe Jackson, along with the piano-bass-drums rhythm section of Karayorgis, Nate McBride and Frank Rosaly, steers perceptions toward comparisons to classic jazz quintet paradigm, different in form and function though it may be.
Both groupings are linked to an essential musical philosophy espoused by the pianist, ambling on the boundaries between the preconceived and the spontaneous. These recordings exemplify an aesthetic at once solid in its concept and open to evolution and expansion. (4-stars for both CDs)
While often associated with a more outwardly expressive approach to improvising, his discography and concept are incredibly diverse and range from free swing to measured exploration. Three recent discs showcase the latter in small-group chamber settings. (…)
The trio on Window and Doorway presents interesting points of comparison and divergence from Estuaries; featuring Swell alongside pianist Pandelis Karayorgis and clarinetist Guillermo Gregorio, the 11 pieces are a mixture of original compositions and group improvisations. Karayorgis' playing in this context focuses on aptly placed, brusque clusters and piano-guts grappling as well as his Monk/ Herbie Nichols/ early Cecil Taylor rhythmic shove. Among the pieces most indicative of Karayorgis' hands is ”Lifgatowy", its craggy runs and volumes limned by mouthy, keening chortles. Swell is boisterous but with a controlled classicism throughout and a powerful foil for Gregorio's cross-register winnow. The three embrace a spirited roll and postwar clamber on the pianist's "In The Cracks Of Four", punchily orchestrated to evince a tough ensemble beyond the three musicians on view. While this trio operates without a traditional rhythm section, there's nevertheless a massive amount of motion and detailed contrast, even in the sparest of circumstances.
Staring with the first track, Swell's 'Texture 5', the trio's approach to meshing composition and improvisation is on display. The track begins with a legato clarinet and supportive phrases from the trombone that are lightly underscored by the piano which grows more assertive as the tune progresses. Their abstract call and response has a certain hopeful melancholy binding the three musicians together. Eventually, Karayorgis is front and center, the roles reversed. The track ends with the trio engaged in some very energetic free playing, an intensive payoff for the patient listener.
Gregorio's clarinet is the first sound heard on the evocative 'Curves and Angles' which at first I thought must be one of the composed pieces, but is in fact a group improvisation that sees each member complimenting the other seamlessly. Actually, you may be inclined to think the whole album is composed, as pieces like Karaygorlis' 'Liftagowy' or Swell's 'Nu Blu', which beings with a harsh dissonance, all contain an infectious free spirit.
These four recent releases from Karaygoris' label are really excellent examples of the intersection of composition and free playing. The different combinations of instruments and approaches showcases the pianist's influences and exciting musical ideas. Great music, check it out at http://driffrecords.bandcamp.com/.
In a certain way, it makes sense to find Guillermo Gregorio on an album called Window and Doorway (Driff). Though the Chicago-based clarinetist is a fluent and agile improviser, he’s equally adept at devising compositions that frame and give direction to his fellow musicians’ spontaneity. On “Planimetria” Gregorio, trombonist Steve Swell, and pianist Pandelis Karayorgis take turns initiating phrases that the other two complete. But it never devolves into a call-and-response exercise; instead each complete statement feels like a series of fluidly articulated compound sentences expressing an elegant train of thought.
Another of the session`s points of interest is that rather than being string-centred, the 11 compositions and group improvisations advance the qualities of trombone, clarinet and piano, with the chordal instrument’s qualities serving to underlay the more powerful horn sounds. This isn’t much of a stretch since each of the trio members is experienced in many forms of musical organization. Chicago-based clarinetist Guillermo Gregorio composes music and plays in improv settings; New York trombonist Steve Swell has been a member of many Jazz and improv bands; and pianist Pandelis Karayorgis has had similar experiences in-and-out experience from his Boston base.
Turning aside any over-refined currents that characterize the first part of the program, the three boost intimations of spits and slurs into Karayorgis’ “Lifgatowy” which sounds like a Thelonious Monk line performed by Steve Lacy and Roswell Rudd. Considering that the pianist is part of The Whammies, a Lacy tribute band, it’s not surprising. Here the jaunty descending line is shaped by high-frequency piano pounding which ratchet up to ferment, as Gregorio’s hard glissandi and Swell’s sympathetic obbligatos temper the intensity.
“Curves And Angles”, a group improvisation, is just as noteworthy, as the three proceed to expose exactly what the title promises. They improvise in spiky triple counterpoint while rarely crossing one another’s expositions. The pianist’s pedal point cascades extend the narrative chromatically as concentrated exhilaration is intensified when the horns accelerate to high-pitched sonic violence.
Other pieces range from expanded technical texts which abut contemporary so-called classical traditions to those which posit a unique variant of what could be called Jazz. On the former, delicate, near-romantic clarinet lines often give way to top-of-range palindromes as the trombonist turns to choked valve work and the pianist dynamic contrasts. Other tunes such as the pianist’s “In the Cracks of Four” posit what would have happened had a honky-tonk pianist snuck into a Schoenberg seminar. Karayorgis moves effortlessly from showcasing walking bass diffusion to exploring the tones and timbres of different pitches.
Die CD ”Window And Doorway" demonstriert vielgestaltig die enge und vielseitige Verbindung und Verschmelzung von Komposition mit Improvisation. Alle drei steuern Stücke/Konzepte bei; drei der elf Tracks sind hingegen reine Improvisationen. Schon in Swells ”Texture 9" besteht die abwechslungsreiche Dramaturgie in sehr verschiedenen Verfahren, Techniken und Moods. Eine abenteuerliche Reise durch eine schnell sich ändernde Klang und Strukturlandschaft. Trotz Integration der Free Jazz-Ästhetik eine Art von neuer Kammermusik.
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