By: Joe Giardullo
Released in: 2004
Catalog No: MW 755-2
Price : 12 EUR
1. Channeling [10:55]
2. Weather [18:49]
3. Times Change [13:20]
4. A Love Supreme [11:27]
Joe Giardullo - soprano sax
Solo soprano saxophone recorded at Klub Re in Krakow, Poland in April of 2004. Over the past five years, we've seen ten fine discs from Mr. Giardullo, more than half of them collaborations with his close friend, Joe McPhee. On Giardullo's first solo disc, he plays four long pieces, three originals and a stunning cover of Trane's classic "A Love Supreme". Joe has a unique sound on soprano, not too harsh or too sweet, but just right. He sounds like he adding some Monk-like phrases on the title track, making a bit Steve Lacy-ish. Coltane's spiritual epic, "A Love Supreme" was done on tenor sax, so hearing it done more quietly on soprano sax is an approach that does work in another way. He does twists some of those notes inside-out. Very nice work from Joe Giardullo.
by Bruce Lee Gallanter & Downtown Music Gallery
I think that most listeners would agree that a solo concert with a single line instrument makes for very challenging listening, chiefly because the performer has to create drama and contrasts with timbre and volume changes and/or imply harmony and rhythm all on their own. Even piano or guitar solo performances can lose the audience if care is not taken in varying the attack, tempo, or volume. Performing without a net, they keep or lose the audience from moment to moment.
Giardullo, I am happy to report, kept both me and his audience enraptured for the duration of each of the four development. “Channeling” starts out with some haunting notes, sometimes split or with harmonics, and lays out what could be a motive that he then extends and expands. A section of controlled harmonics is followed by a soft entrance that gets louder, broken up by pauses. Many different sounds, long notes with overtones, fast arpeggios, plaintive lines, different ranges, and even some straight playing with a round sound and vibrato pass by, helping to keep the ear and mind engaged.
The second track, “Weather,” is the longest, and starts with some teasing short phrases that fade at the end, and which seem disconnected in time but related in shape. At times, I could almost feel a rhythm, and even the hint of “Stomping at the Savoy” (huh?!), but as soon as anything felt set up, it disappeared. Although many of the same techniques are used here as in “Channeling,” this track has its own personality. At the center of the work is a soft section marked by key-tapping, which maintains a sort of rhythm and overblowing from which a surprising number of sounds emerge. Three quarters of the way through, Giardullo explodes with a very long line that shows off his circular breathing.
“Times Change” began to feel like more of the same, in that now I was used to what he was doing, at least for this concert. There is more tapping with some new sounds popping out, and much circular breathing, but now I began getting impatient to see what “A Love Supreme” would bring. I cannot say whether the audience knew that the Coltrane tune was coming, but the opening motive is unmistakable in its mystery and haunting beauty. Giardullo plays the notes straight, with a soft, quite attractive tone in the beginning, and then starts bringing in the overtones and extending the range. The theme is gradually—almost lovingly—developed and worked over, mostly with a “straight” rendition which is then expanded, pushed, and pulled. Having something familiar as a base really helped ground the performance of this track, and was quite welcome after forty minutes of playing.
The audience was totally silent during each track and clapped loudly and warmly when each was over. I was pulled quite deeply into music that normally does not produce much of an emotional response in me, and hence I can recommend it as a solo soprano saxophone concert to investigate.
by Budd Kopman & Cadence (October 2005)