Grimal & di Domenico - Chergui

Grego Edwards, Gapplegate Music Review

I won't say there will be a time when I "know it all." Doing these reviews can be a humbling experience because there are so many excellent players-artists out there that I would probably know nothing about unless otherwise exposed, thanks to the labels and artists who send their work. And each has a musical world, some are very unexpected, some familiar, some in between.

An excellent example is the duo of Giovanni di Domenico and Alexandra Grimal and their 2-CD set Chergui (Ayler 141-142). I reviewed something with Giovanni on it a while ago. This is my first brush with the duo.

Alexandra is on soprano and tenor sax; Giovanni plays piano. These are compositional-free pieces, most written by di Domenico, one a collaboration, and a few by Ms. Grimal. Most are for the two together; a few are solo showcases for each artist.

The music has jazz inflections but in many ways is in a new music zone that reflects modern avant classical without necessarily embracing it. It is the "in betweenness" that sets the music off in part as exceptional. That and the fully formed qualities of the playing.

It is music to listen to closely--not background music in any sense. And the more you listen, the more there is to appreciate. There is much that is atmospheric; all has spirit but it is not a "blowing session" so much as it is a carefully thought-out articulation of musical worlds.

I must say this set impresses me greatly. If you are looking for the new and the very good-excellent, this set is that! Listen and ye shall be rewarded.