Tuesday, October 25, 2016
JazzWorldQuest: The Free mp3 List Update: Phos Duo-Five Road Crossroads
Composer: Sami Amiris
Album Name: Expanded Matrix
Year of release: 2016
CD Store: http://www.cdbaby.com/cd/phosduo1
“Expanded Matrix” is the second album of the Phos Duo, featuring Antonis Ladopoulos on saxophone and Sami Amiris on piano. The duo has a history of about a decade, but the collaboration between the two musicians goes back a lot longer than that. “Expanded Matrix” is a three-part suite created with compositional techniques from the contemporary classical world, namely ‘serial’ music in particular. It was composed by Antonis Ladopoulos and Sami Amiris. The same twelve-tone series was used in all pieces, so the thematic material is the same in all parts of the suite. The first part, “Initiation”, is very improvisatory in character. Although it is through-composed, it is heavily based on the interaction of the two musicians. It has many contrasting moods, from ad lib to groovy, and is the longest of the three. On the contrary, the second part, “Elegiac”, is the shortest of the three and features almost no improvisation. Mood is the main focus. The third part, “Procession”, shows a more ‘middle of the road’ approach: some parts of it are played verbatim, some are improvised. Controlled energy is the key here, until the explosive finale. The overall feeling of the suite is pretty close to contemporary classical, but with varying doses of improvisation and many different states of mind along the way. “Five-Road Crossroads (a.k.a The Greek Blues)”, by Sami Amiris, is an almost true traditional blues tune… with a twist. The main idea here is actually a question: how would the blues sound if the fundamental rhythmic core changed, but the blues language remained the same? This piece is just one possible answer of many to this question. For the music buffs out there, there is no traditional triplet feel here, as everything is based on fives (as in ‘quintuplets’). The meter of each section is nine, resembling the Zeibek dance from the Eastern Mediterranean. So, this is a bonafide 45 = (4+5) x 5 blues; also, “if it sounds like triplets, it probably is either 7:5 or fives in groups of three”, as the pianist says. Still, the overall feeling is just the blues. Which shows that the language of the blues is so rich and powerful that it transcends all norms and survives and thrives in many different contexts. “No and No”, by Antonis Ladopoulos, based on the slightly modified harmony of a piece of a similar title by Wayne Shorter, is a very daring and explosive ⅞ piece, revolving between modern jazz, salsa and Brazilian music. For the musically trained, the rhythmic underpinning by the pianist is very adventurous, ranging from normal-ish salsa and samba to very heavy over-the-barline playing using all sorts of groupings and polyrhythms. As the pianist says, “if it sounds like triplets, most of the time it is 11:7”. All of this notwithstanding, the soloist brings a very relaxed and simultaneously energetic solo performance on the horn over the challenging background. The point here is not difficulty: it is energy.
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