As with Ornette Coleman, the late Paul Termos had a biting, mournful, and searing voice on alto sax that was capable of speaking volumes with a single phrase. This first Paul Termos Sessions volume finds the saxophonist in a duo with the eccentric pianist Misha Mengelberg, who is as good a partner as can be imagined. When Termos erupts with clipped clusters, as he sometimes does, Mengelberg encourages him by lying low, but the pianist also fills spaces dramatically when the occasion demands it, and Mengelberg's own low-tech solos are almost always worth hearing. Termos' eloquent soloing sets the tone on the first track, "Dag Paul Hallo Misha," which comprises almost half the album, which was recorded live at the Bimhuis club in Amsterdam and released in collaboration with Bimhuis Records. While much of Termos' best work came from his ensembles, this duo demonstrates his extraordinary talents. It encompasses the saxophonist's splendid blowing with Mengelberg's childlike simplicity and subtle humor. In addition to the outstanding first cut, highlights include the rambunctious opening (which continues unabated) on "Hallo Misha Dag Paul," coupled with the pianist's absurd chanting; the hardcore "Bokkenrijder," paired with a quirky piano solo by Mengelberg on Jerome Kern's "I've Told Every Little Star"; and Mengelberg's simple melody on "Rumboon." Termos runs the gamut from Ornette Coleman to Eric Dolphy, and there are few examples of his blowing that rival this wonderful recording. This release is a fitting memorial to a very talented musician.
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AllMusic Review by Steve Loewy