Monday, May 9, 2016

Blaise Siwula / Eric Plaks, Time In, Spontaneous Compositions

It makes perfect sense that avant saxophone virtuoso Blaise Siwula and relatively new-coming piano firebrand Eric Plaks would team up for a mutually rewarding encounter, Time In (No Frills Music 0010). I've of course been covering many of Blaise's expressively beautiful albums over the years on this page, and I have recently covered Eric Plaks on several exemplary outings here (type their names in the search box above for reviews).

Eric's richly sensory-motored scatter piano virtuosity is on full display, extraordinary noteful and unrelenting in its torrential excitement. It spurs Blaise on to do some of his most energetic, blazingly forceful and eloquent improvising, whether on alto, tenor or soprano. He is on fire and manages to find once again his own special space where the history of the music gets channeled into his own special avant space.

There are seven freely improvised segments that vary the pace, density and mood quite well. Blaise responds brilliantly to Plaks' urgent, energetic, driven piano with some very abstract counterlines, hugely satisfying timbral sculpting (depending on the sax at hand) and brilliantly in-and-out of tonality streams that respond to the well-conceived modulatory tonal-pan-tonal piano outbursts. Eric now and again responds to Blaise's historical channeling with a little stride outness but there is never a question of the state-of-the-art avantness of the encounter. This is 2016 and we never feel otherwise.

It is a wonderful album on many levels, like a stiff belt before your day in court, so to speak, it anticipates the future while also ignoring it for the elation of the moment, the shouting forth of out abundance with a preparatory act that is wholly right in itself.

I've never heard either sound quite so good! It is Eric at his most concentrated and Blaise at his most extroverted. It is both attaining a freedom of ecstasy! Many stars of appreciation, if I gave out stars. If I did this it would get all the stars possible. If I don't give stars it is because I want to avoid the praise/condemnation machine that sometimes can result from such efforts. Quantifying something qualitative is a mistake, to me. But if you must, think of this as a five-star recording.

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