Leo Records CD LR 874
Giorgia Santoro, flute, bansuri, xiao, piccolo, mouth harp, voice and effects; Pat Battstone, piano
Recorded 2nd April 2019 at Waveahead Studios, Monopoli, Italy
This music is remarkably impalpable and at times deeply mellow and even melancholic, all of this in some way due to Santoro’s choice of flutes and her attack on those instruments. The bansuri, xiao and piccolo are all varieties from the flute family. The bansuri is essentially from anywhere in the Indian sub-continent, is fashioned from bamboo and is side-blown; the xiao is Chinese, bamboo and end blown; the piccolo has been made from a variety of materials including glass, ivory and wood, and it was keyless. It is transverse and small, modern instruments being keyed like its big sibling, the concert flute, although pitched an octave higher.
The music is inspired by the paintings of artist Daniela Chionna, though I did not find it necessary to see those paintings in order to follow the music. Ultimately, I found it hard to understand why this music should wish to be classified as free jazz: it is anything but. It has rhythm, not strong, but definitely present. It also seeks direction or rather, destination, and does so through the order of things, through sequence, structure system, thereby implying melody and composition.
I do not wish to appear to condemn the music, by no means. Merely to point out that this is not ‘as described’ or expected. The abilities of the duo, their musicianship never in question. In fact, one of the least free tracks, Song of Daphne, is my favourite on the album.
Summarily then, I think that this music is better defined by what it lacks: the discipline of the avant-garde which makes free music what it is.