Thursday, February 17, 2011

Esther Lamneck, Tarogato; Roberto Fabbriciani, Hyperbass Flute

Not everything musically is what you expect. So sometimes you come to expect the unexpected. And in the case of Winds of the Heart, the album of tarogato and hyperbass flute duets by Esther Lamneck and Roberto Fabbriciani (Innova 239), you most certainly get it.

First let me just clarify that the tarogato is related to the soprano sax and has roots in ancient instruments used in Hungary, Romania and Turkey. The hyperbass flute is just that. If you've ever leafed through woodwind catalogs, you'll know such an instrument is not going to be cheap. But I digress.

Esther Lamneck plays the tarogato in ways that resonate with the Gypsy roots of the instrument. She gets into long snaky, freely unfolding lines that also suggest Coltrane's later work with the soprano sax as well as the current improvisations of Evan Parker. Mr. Fabbriciani uses the deep tones of the hyperbass flute to his advantage but also takes advantage of the overtone possibilities to get textured upper notes, and also uses a number of non-standard articulations and vocalising to realize a wide spectrum of sounds.

All that being said, this CD presents 14 short- to middle-length duets that concentrate on free avant expression. Esther tends to be fleet; Roberto more in the horizontally oriented longer-toned sound world. He also can get interestingly percussive tones by emitting short bursts of air into the instrument and letting it resonate. Either way the contrast between the two players works well.

I don't imagine this program will appeal to all. Those who embrace the free-er musics out there will be at home with it. This is a rarified sound universe. Those willing to take the time to adjust to it will find alternatingly exhilarating and meditative moments to savor in this unusual offering.

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