With Art Spirit, the Boxholder label continues to make available late '90s recordings of saxophonist Joe Giardullo. After a 1997 session with Joe McPhee (Specific Gravity, released in 2001), comes this set with guitarist Sangeeta Michael Berardi, recorded in October of the same year. Berardi, on electric guitar, displays a range of dynamics that extends from soft post-bop to more feverish fusion episodes. His playing remains mostly tonal, although some improvised chord changes get daring, creative but limited to the realm of traditional playing (no preparations or extended techniques involved). Giardullo pushes the music further into avant-garde territory and provides a wider palette of sounds. On alto sax he sounds tender. Using circular breathing with his soprano sax in "Touched" gives a harsher, more challenging performance. The bass clarinet on the other hand has a more introspective quality. Giardullo uses it like a slightly more melodic didjeridoo in "Bilbao Curve," a highlight. In "Aspectations" and "Spirit Window," he turns to the flute, developing delicate instant melodies sharpen with raspy breathing. Art Spirit is not a stunner, but it sure makes a comfortable listen for the avant-garde jazz fan. The music gently charms rather than impose itself.
Share this page
AllMusic Review by François Couture