Anatoly Vapirov

There's Always a Hope

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Duet performances from two different festivals are featured on this CD; the gigs were a month apart and any sort of assumption that might be made about a couple of East Europeans on the loose in Italy during the summer of 1993 would no doubt explain the superior quality of the performances. Tenor and soprano saxophonist Anatoly Vapirov and pianist Harry Tavitian may have been going from gig to gig every night during that month, for example, honing their chops and raising their interplay up to the heavenly heights. Or they might have had the entire month off in the back of someone's pizzeria, building up the required store of personal energy and aesthetic intensity needed to totally improvise a duet set mercilessly free of noodling, repetition or communication breakdowns.

Either way or any combination therein, this duet of piano and horns works marvelously. The Bulgarian recording is an excellent example of Tavitian's compelling style as well as a perfect way to enjoy Vapirov's improvising -- he can be as biting as a pickaxe as well as surprisingly receptive to the unusual concept of the saxophone as an accompanying instrument. The eight pieces are presented as an untitled unit, working both that way and as a suite, in which the two musicians' cultural backgrounds remain an important reality in the simmering, then boiling, then churning, then lulling musical invention. Tavitian sometimes sets up sections on one of his simpler instruments such as a drum or a flute, a bit of basic rhythm developing into an almost overwhelming force. Other ideas, some of them brilliant, are tossed out to become prized bits of detail, the players utilizing montage and other practically cinematic techniques in their unusually vivid extemporizing.

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