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A Brush With Dignity

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Album Review

Pure improvisation can take on many different forms, but for the quartet dubbed Weightless, it does not necessarily represent their name. While it is a given that this ensemble eschews the use of static rhythm as a foundation for their spontaneous compositions, there's plenty of implied propulsion without it being swing- or beat-oriented. Saxophonist John Butcher is a master of this Euro-style free jazz, and is completely unleashed to do what he wants, while pianist Alberto Braida is the perfect foil, darting and dashing about his keyboard with a serious playfulness. What is weighty and meaty about this music is the fullness and expansive nature, taking no-mean-street cues from any discernible influence, but carrying on with a certain spaciousness that sees no need to completely fill in cracks. For even the staunchest, challenged listener, the near-30-minute "Centri" may be a bit too indulgent and difficult, but it's interesting to hear low-level harmonics, stretching strings, and simulated electronics from acoustic instruments, and up-and-down dynamics along with fine solos from Braida or Butcher. The 16-minute "Termo" uses smeared sounds, bowed bass by John Edwards, very intense interplay, and then quieted segments in varied sonic palates. A looser improv on the opener "Apre" sets the tone for the tenor sax and piano with no reservations and some upper-level envelope pushing, while "Vista" has a thematic approach with tinny percussion tweaks from Fabrizio Spera, and a denser sax-piano mood. It is about the uninterrupted attention one invests in A Brush with Dignity that yields the best result, but remember that it takes as much patience to play this music as to enjoy it. Perhaps only for niche audiences, Weightless does provide compelling improvisation for those best-suited to experience it. ~ Michael G. Nastos, Rovi

A Brush With Dignity, Weightless
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  • $9.99
  • Genres: Jazz, Music
  • Released: Sep 15, 2009

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