STEPHEN GAUCI’S BASSO CONTINUO – Nididhyasana (CF 101)
This is a quite atypical lineup, in that it presents two double basses (Mike Bisio and Ingebrigt Haaker Flaten) as a thick backbone for the evolutions of Stephen Gauci on tenor saxophone and Nate Wooley on trumpet. Upon reading the instrumentation, one could be justified in thinking of a god-awful jumble of low-frequency pumping with squealing swords agitated everywhere. Not so, and I had no doubt about that after having seen the involved names. There’s no abundance of moonbeams here: every note coming from Gauci and Wooley seem to derive from triturated melodies whose crumbles scourge the face of the listener like burning sand carried by the desert wind. In there, we can easily locate refined scribbles of intuitive geniality, which cancel whatever remote influence might have been traced (it takes a good auricular effort to realize that the leader was a student of Joe Lovano). Flaten and Bisio do what expected and a little more, building a booming cage of buzz, drone and pluck lodging their speculative philosophy of the bass, all the while remaining in the undetermined area of instant creation without losing a longitudinal vision of the whole. Being struck by the music at a first try is not easy: give it the necessary attention and the reward is all but assured, also thanks to a fabulously vivid recording quality.