(Fundacja Sluchaj!)

Truth be told, and despite the title, while abandoning myself to this album I almost forgot that the music — improvised and reinterpreted by Marco Colonna (clarinet, bass clarinet, sopranino sax) and Alexander Hawkins (piano) — was the original fruit of Eric Dolphy’s ingenious brilliance. This duo, molded around solid instrumental qualities, causes the sort of internal splitting which leads to parallel perceptions in a listener’s brain. One follows the individual trajectories; associates the respective intuitions, often merged in instants of pure acoustic enchantment; enjoys a genuine fusion of spirits deprived of unrequired extremisms, and never burdened by the mannerisms of intellectual falsehood.

The project premiered in Italy in February 2020. Colonna and Hawkins had first met during the recordings of saxophonist Roberto Ottaviano’s Eternal Love; from there, they began to share a common vision. This communion of goals and values translates into a reciprocal understanding warranting repeated moments of fertile unselfconsciousness during the interplay. These men have obviously spent decades “inhabiting” their instruments, of which they know every nook and cranny, and exploit every nuance. A respectful command of Dolphy’s material allows them to boost improvisational clairvoyance within the realm of intelligible complexity.

In between revised and glorified classics such as “Out To Lunch” and “Gazzelloni”, room is left for solo interludes reaffirming the musicians’ empathetic talents. Colonna, a socially conscious artist who identifies the reeds as a means for sending out politically heartfelt messages, is capable of stimulating our responsiveness through a language comprising all kinds of traces, from blues to serialism. Hawkins, who like all self-taught instrumentalists could decide to push himself even where he shouldn’t — at least according to stupid rules — lets the magnificent resonance of his piano court Colonna’s tones without overwhelming them. His gifts for us are profound chords, nervous zigzags, refined modulations, bass lines that reverberate in the mind for long minutes after having felt their vibration in the chest.

It’s a great record, this one. I was looking for seeds of Dolphy, and found the beautiful flowers of Hawkins and Colonna.

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