Pandelis Karayorgis

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Disambiguation Review

by Fran├žois Couture

This recording session involving leaders Pandelis Karayorgis and Mat Maneri along with their supporting cast (Tony Malaby, Michael Formanek, and Randy Peterson -- all musicians they had both worked with before) was put together hastily. It falls to the jazzmen's credit that Disambiguation sounds so unforced and rehearsed, and flows so naturally. The pianist and violist know each other well enough to share a level of comfort that often finds improv musicians turning lazy and remaining on previously charted ground. If this quintet doesn't explore new, cutting-edge territories, it sure can't be accused of laziness. Karayorgis came up with five loose compositions: heads and sub-group sequences (a bass/piano duet here, a trio section there, etc.). The group members made the music their own (rather than "learned" it) and recorded it as if they had been playing it for years. Nothing here stands out of the ordinary: the pianist's tumbling lines, Maneri's deep viola lines, the rhythm section playing in and out often at the same time. Detractors of free jazz will say that this has been done before, and so forth. But these five players do it well, more than that they do it casually. Unpretentiously, like it is their everyday bread and butter, they pour their hearts and souls into Karayorgis' post-bop themes (that Monk signature again in the opening theme of "Three Plus Three"), break down their sound into every possible combination of players to show everything they can do, and bring it softly "Home" in the end. All in a day's work, right? Disambiguation is the work of professionals still thrilled by what they do.

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