Borah Bergman: One More Time & Luminescence
Borah Bergman/Giorgio Dini
Superficially, it appears that free improvisation and ensemble jazz are disparate styles. However, both require patience, timing, musical intelligence, a strong ear and imagination. On a pair of new releases pianist Borah Bergman shows dexterous handling of each.
Bergman and bassist Giorgio Dini meet on the high-wire for One More Time, an album of spontaneous invention that challenges the players and their listeners as well. The mysterious landscape of "One More" sets the tone, Bergman's fragmented, searching piano underscored by Dini's plucking, strumming and buzz saw arco. The vocal quality of Dini's pizzicato on "Autograph Two" and his bowing on "Hustle" provide a dolorous antistrophe to Bergman's vigorous piano voice. The duo also shines at slower tempos, as on "Enough for His Keep," where Bergman displays his creativity at a ballad tempo while Dini counters with a marvelously swift pizzicato. The duo could have stretched out more on the brooding "A Patter of Footsteps"; the tune's promise extends far past its sub two-minute length. "Equitable" contains more of Dini's rumbling bass and sharp interior dialogue by Bergman. Listening to Bergman and Dini expertly expand upon each tune in the process of inventing while nimbly negotiating each other's spaces is delightful.
The one-word song titles in Bergman's trio disc, Luminescence, are indicators of its minimalist nature. Bergman paints a spare picture on the canvas for the tune "Quantum". No long exposition here, just a purposeful concision above the Latin-themed figure supplied by Greg Cohen's relentless bass and Kenny Wollesen's spirited drumming. "Candela" is even sparer, with Wollesen adding dramatic cymbal highlights. "Parallax" and "Scattering" are nicely balanced; all of the instruments are strong without one dominating. John Zorn joins the trio for "Luma" and sends fierce ripples across the surface of the previously calm waters, his alto a voice shrieking for acknowledgement in a cold wilderness. Throughout, Bergman plays with a kind of controlled fire. At times he seems to be urged to step from his ivory tower and let loose; Bergman resists, though, and his steadfastness gives Luminescence its strength.
Tracks and Personnel
One More Time
Tracks: One More; Autograph Two; Hustle; Enough for His Keep; Equitable; A Patter of Footsteps; No More Cosmetic.
Personnel: Borah Bergman: piano; Giorgio Dini: double bass.
Tracks: Quantum; Candela; Parallax; Scattering; Luma; Opacity.
Personnel: Borah Bergman: piano; Greg Cohen: bass; Kenny Wollesen: drums; John Zorn: sax.