Saturday, April 5, 2014

Jeff Denson & Claudio Puntin Two pfMentum 2014

A new level of improvisational discovery.
 
Brent Black / www.criticaljazz.com
 
There is an ironic bilateral symmetry to this release aside from the rather apt title. Two musicians from two continents, two years apart, on two different days, in two different cities met and recorded this music without discussion or plan. The result of the work of premier bassist Jeff Denson and Swedish clarinet virtuoso Claudio Puntin are expansive yet organic while striking both the visceral and cerebral centers of the listener. Moods, textures and at times an oddly ambient nature highlight a release that is spontaneous in creativity yet academic in execution. Harmonic chemistry.
 
Expect the unexpected with "A Sunday Afternoon and Still Surprising" epitomizing the more whimsical side of the duo while "Harbor of Fog" is a gradual metamorphosis of an eerie lyrical development that creates a subtle dynamic tension between Denson and Puntin. The interaction within the dup is a somewhat abstract melodic conversation that is the end result of listening and understanding the changes as they happen while continuing a lyrical sense of purpose allowing virtually all these eclectic compositions to come full circle.
 
While Puntin works in the upper echelon of the European theatre of improvisational and classical music, Denson perhaps gained his greatest experience thanks to a lengthy tenure with Lee Konitz. So is this free jazz? Not in the strictest understood sense of the word. Two while spontaneous is working a unique harmonic sweet spot that most improvisational players fear to tread. This is truly working the melodic high wire without a net. The possibilities here are only two, feast or famine.
Dig in.
Tracks: Harbor of Fog; Plan B; Black Lilies; Variation On A Point of View; Nobody Bothers Me Either; A Sunday Afternoon and Still Surprising; Frozen Oscillations; Un Sueno Distante; First Take-Scanning Souls; You Don't Say; Ghosts In The Walls; Desperate.
 
Personnel: Jeff Denson: Double Bass and Voice; Claudio Puntin: Clarinet, Bass Clarinet, Analog Preparations, Tarcas.