This is the album to which Danielsson referred in his Jazz Journal 1118 profile, when he emphasised how much factors of melody – of space and clarity – had come to mean in his music. Such concerns make him a natural soulmate of Fresu, whose discography has long been distinguished by many a spaciously conceived yet lapidary lyrical gem – from the 1991 Evening Song with Furio Di Castri (b) to his recent work in the Mare Nostrum trio with Jan Lundgren (p) and Richard Galliano (acn).
The programme is mostly taken at a leisurely pace, the material wide-ranging even as it is fully integrated in poetic mood. There are two classic ballads – the Kosma/Mercer “Leaves” and Komeda’s “Sleep Safe and Warm” – as well as pieces by Bach (Wachet Auf) and Oskar Lindberg, the editor of the Church of Sweden’s hymn book (Mot Himmelen), plus a number of striking originals from Danielsson and Fresu.
“Un Vestido” and “Sleep” feature fine arco from Danielsson but he chiefly sticks to pizzicato, his patiently stepped, elegantly rounded lines fashioning a judiciously tempered range of springboards for Fresu’s diversely cast meditations.
These players are known for an engagement with electronics as sensitive as it is creative and the use of occasional loops and delays by both contributes subtle texture and voicings – sample “Dardodentro” and “Solitude”. Fresu’s “Drexciya” and “April in Dardegna” build diversely cast but equally soulful grooves and Danielsson’s “Amigos” also gets fingers clicking and toes tapping.
But the heart of the album lies in the linked rubato mysteries conjured by the improvised interplay of Danielsson’s ruminative, deeply cast bass figures and Fresu’s echo-fed ascensional washes of practically painterly colour on “Dardusó” and “Stanna Tid”. Lovely stuff.
Autumn Leaves; Saluto Dardamente; Le Matin; Stilla Storm; Jag Lyfter Ögat Mot Himmelen; Un Vestido y Un Amor; Drexciya; Dardusó; Stanna Tid; Sleep Safe and Warm; April in Dardegna; Amigos; Wachet Auf, Ruft Uns Die Stimme; Dardodentro; De la Solitude Mesurée (49.24)
Lars Danielsson (b, clo); Paolo Fresu (t, flh). Gothenburg 14-15 May, 2018.