Tony Bianco

Hour Glass

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What is it with drummer Tony Bianco's playing that forces Paul Dunmall to put all the talent and energy he can spare into the music? This pair ranks among the most exciting units of high-energy improv in the early 2000s (matched maybe only by Paul Flaherty and Chris Corsano). Hour Glass adds two hours to their recorded output. After a purely duo disc for FMR (I You) and a trio session with Simon Picard for Emanem (Utoma Trio), this double-CD set puts the pair in the studio with two different bassists. Round one, recorded on February 27, 2002, is titled "Hour Glass" and features Marcio Mattos on double bass and electronics. Dunmall sticks to the tenor saxophone throughout the eventful hour (the continuous performance has been indexed in four parts). Round two, titled "The Tepees Dive Deeply" (also one hour long, indexed in four parts), was committed to tape two months later. Dunmall substitutes soprano for tenor and Paul Rogers plays his custom six-string bass with sympathetic strings. Tony Bianco allies grace and power, propelling both sessions with unflinching stamina. On tenor, the saxophonist sticks closer to the free jazz idiom, while the soprano takes him deeper into circular breathing and abstract thinking. The two bass players have similar attitudes, but their instruments bring out different colors. The second piece has a slightly awkward ending -- the conscious effort to stop after an hour is more obvious (as in forced) than in the first piece. But that remains a minor flaw for a brilliant album. This music is not for reductionism purists and listeners with a short attention span. On the other hand, fans of Mujician will greatly appreciate this.

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