August 14, 2015

Gato Barbieri & Dollar Brand - Confluence (1968)

As much as I love his usual tone, I think that this album would be significantly better if Gato did a little less saxophone shrieking. He usually bends his overblowing to fit the feel of his large group stuff, but given that this is a duet, I'm not sure it serves much of a purpose and it only seems to get in the way. The pianist, Abdullah Ibrahim, is fantastic and very original. This is actually the first time I'm hearing him play and I definitely want to hear more. He's not quite Andrew Hill, not quite Cecil Taylor, not quite Mal Waldron, and it's hard to compare him to any of them. His playing ranges everywhere from spooky to pretty and he does a great job of framing Gato's playing. Strong small-band free jazz that's well worth a listen from anybody looking into the next level of the genre.