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Rigmor Gustafsson Live by Rigmor Gutafsson

STRAIGHT LINES SKEWED appeals to a visual sense. (Some of the titles of the cuts allude to visual art ventures as in BRUSH UP, BLUE ABSTRACTION, SLICE OF LINE, WET PAINT, & TONDO [a round painting]).The challenge is to translate the aural experience of what has visuality as its spine into words. This new CIMP Spirit Room Series release features a trio of West Coast musicians led by Donald Robinson on drums, Lisle Ellis on bass and Marco Eneidi on alto saxophone.

The straight lines come through in the masterful directness of the drumming. Robinson’s directness does not exceed a certain intentional controlled limit. His style is tight to the snare and hi-hats, soft with the brushes, round with the mallets to the toms and demonstrates his great affection for the cymbals with which he often creates sound that expands and contracts. When his rhythms are not in command, they provide a gently constructed bridge between saxophone phrases and hook into Ellis’s bass line as if the perc and the strings are in one indivisible musical space. Robinson inserts nuances into the thematic maps which Eneidi makes with his horn; these nuances sneak in in the form of swift damped dashes on the cymbal, clicks on the snare, or beats on the bass drum in an extremely solid tempo. At other times, though, what were nuances in one place become major entries in the tide of entire pieces as in his solo ending CERCA. Ellis contributes in the same way, where soft bass interludes of fingering that moves up and down the scale or bowing/plucking that complements the tone of the horn, can often predominate as a bass solo could.

The skew, yes, the skew, enters in with Eneidi’s careful interweaving with his alto sax of sometimes brash, sometimes sour, sometimes fluid, sometimes reedy and sometimes pure tones. Eneidi also controls his playing quite dissimilarly from the way he takes off in a concert arena. It isn’t that Eneidi does not have room. The texture of the CD is one that contains itself within the limits of the drumming and bass and that is the reason that Eneidi provides the skew to the straight lines--- his playing is the most potentially explosive, as it eventually lets loose, for example, in BACK ALLEY & JUMP.

There is quite a range of sound explorations on the recording. The cuts last in length from 37 seconds, where the bass grounds the sax repeating a note phrase in a descending cascade four times, to 15:46, where the entire trio evolves at a steady slow tempo a melody introduced by the sax with two ringing pitches that are tenderly elongated & stretched out into a theme that is totally reflective of what it is supposed to be doing: the work CAMMINARE is modeled on a musical dynamic "camminando", meaning walking or flowing. It is the most exploratory of all the pieces on the CD.

Additional Info

  • Artist / Group Name: Rigmor Gutafsson
  • CD Title: Rigmor Gustafsson Live
  • Genre: Free Jazz / Avante Garde
  • Year Released: 2000
  • Record Label: Prophone Records
  • Musicians: Donald Robinson (drums), Marco Eneidi (alto saxophone), Lisle Ellis (bass)
  • Rating: Three Stars
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