Wednesday, November 18, 2009

David Mott in A Solo Baritone Sax Outing

A review last August of Baritone Saxophonist David Mott's excellent The Standard Line (see below) prompted a reader and myself to wonder what he has been doing since that time. David kindly hipped me to a number of his recent CDs which we will be covering in the next few weeks.

First up is a rather stunning recital for solo baritone, A Sky Ringing in An Empty Bell (York Fine Arts). This is another excellent outing, one which combines freedom with conceptual thinking of a high order. Like some of Roscoe Mitchell's solo alto sax performances, especially those on Nonaah (Nessa), Mott uses circular breathing and a fine command over his instrument to create distinct exploratory pieces (nine of them), moments in an overall matrix, that concentrate on timbral and technically specific approaches to unify each event and give them thematic distinction.

For example the opening piece, "Paganini Flies with the Dragon," makes good use of a rapidly ascending and descending motif that continually adds and subtracts harmonics as it drives furiously forward. The contrasting "Regarding Starlight" quietly articulates harmonics and falsetto register long tones for an ethereal sound as impressive for its control of the baritone as it is for its rather cosmic impact.

The recording continues in this vein with singular vignettes that flow together nicely and show excellent command and imagination. Solo saxophone records sometimes can be self-indulgent and perfunctory, but not so here. Just the opposite in fact.

A Sky Ringing in an Empty Bell gives notice that David Mott is a baritonist and musical conceptualizer that needs to be widely heard.

No comments:

Post a Comment