Sort Of / Abstract On Black
The border separating gregariousness and complacence is a subtle line that, once trespassed, usually introduces that kind of improvisation where sense of humour and joyfulness appear excessively at the forefront, thus diminishing the overall artistic value. Luckily this does not happen in The Harmony Of Contradictions, a nice set of intelligent acoustic duos, recorded in 2005 and 2006, juxtaposing the unhesitant, only apparently disconnected omnivorous concentration of saxophonist Jack Wright - his frolicsomely illegitimate erubescences as always welcome as a helping of exotic fruits amidst a chain of double cheeseburgers - and the placid yet non-rhetorical politics of Philadelphia-homed French guitarist Alban Bailly, never met before by yours truly, whose style has been marked by rock, Arabic and gypsy Balkan influences.
This is a collection of bastard dialogues that nevertheless bear the stigmata of familiarity, of course being “familiar” an adjective that will come handy exclusively to those in the know. Duets that reveal a penniless brightness, a constant regeneration of finely tuned wisecracking and unprejudiced misshapenness at the basis of a tête-à-tête involving two honourable representatives of erratic graciousness. Wright’s phrases are a journal of nomadic rambling, a multi-sided slapping of reed-based premeditation. Outbreaks, excrescences and good-looking abortions that form a vocabulary as peculiar as a sticky liquid that somehow smells fabulously: one doesn’t care dipping the finger again and again for more sniffing. Reilly operates the instrument with the same lucidity of a John Russell - sparkle and modesty in equal doses - yet he’s also notable for his determination in trading information without taking disproportionate stances. Neither foolhardy nor too respectful, he stands exactly in between, furnishing the music with a well-received balance of zinging metal, threadbare footnotes and plucked indiscreetness, the occasional “sproing” appearing in the mix when the time is right.