Sunday, 15 February 2009

Flaherty Corsano Duo - Last Eyes (2005)

Paul Flaherty (alto sax); Chris Corsano (drums)

For some strange reason, I always forget that Paul Flaherty is a great saxophone player. Having unwittingly distanced myself from the infamous sax / drums duo for quite sometime, I decided to let Last Eyes by the Flaherty Corsano Duo blast through my speakers-- more out of curiosity than anything else. I’m slightly ashamed to admit that, when first I picked up the record upon it’s 2005 release date, I had the ears of a novice (or to be more precise, someone who listened to “noise” just “because”; not really making the effort to distinguish right from wrong). Not that there’s anything wrong with this, but my outlook and ears have changed somewhat over the past four years.

Now I’m not trying to make the boorish statement that this is a “noise” record. No… that would puerile. What this is--I would argue--, is probably one of the finest examples of the duo’s compatibility; and I’d even consider saying, the finest playing in their individual recorded careers (although I’ve heard a considerable amount more of Chris Corsano than I have Flaherty). The (at a glance) odd coupling of free-titan Flaherty (who’s released records since the 70s), and the comparative new-comer Corsano, work together ferociously, relentlessly, and concisely.

Stripped down to the bare-essentials (ie, no digital effects, no overdubs… etc), they seem to resist the temptation to “go through the motions”; yes Flaherty does squawk and wail, but he seems to be in some form of control most of the time. As well he shows that he can back this up by occasionally falling back on more intricate passages. Corsano is to some extent less adventurous here than in his latter day playing, but I don’t necessarily see this is a bad thing. Sure he doesn’t focus on pulling off some if his well developed stunts (the ripping off tape from his drums, or the carefully deliberated use of pan lids, for example), but what he does exhibit here is a fast, naked, fearless, and involved attack towards the drums.

Although this is probably most easily defined as a free jazz record, the duo hint at other genre infatuations as well; sporadically referencing psychedelia, out rock, primitivism, as well as a plethora of other musical ideas.

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