RT 9332 (2007)
Alberto Braida - piano
1. Tassili [2:04]
Recorded in Milan
"It was early in the morning when I woke up: it was my birthday. I knew that probably I would have received a gift that day and I was very excited.
On the table I found a small package and I immediately went to open it very carefully.
After a couple of days, I looked through the small plastic window of my car: there were the wheel, seats, gear level…a lot of details that I hadn’t noticed till then.
I started to dismantle the car to “explore” inside it and when I finished, the small pieces of my toy were on the table. Many nice and interesting things, which I couldn’t see before were now in front of me: small screws, mechanism and so on.
From then on, my favorite game had been to discover new objects that I could build using the components of my red toy car." (A.B.)
visit Alberto Braida's website
Jerry D'Souza - All About Jazz
Action and interaction are at the crossroads when pianist Alberto Braida and bassist Wilbert de Joode get together. The two are improvisers of the first caliber, always looking for the new and different while acknowledging the root that is the take-off point.
Braida has long been active as an improviser, particularly in Europe. He has played and recorded with an equally impressive host of innovators including Giancarlo Locatelli, Fabrizio Spera, Gianfranco Tedeschi, Wadada Leo Smith, Paul Lovens and Lisle Ellis. He now finds a companion in de Joode, whose credentials have been stamped beyond the pale of doubt. de Joode is comfortable both in composition and free jazz, but whichever way he goes, he brings in interesting motifs that make him a distinct pleasure. It is not surprising that Braida and de Joode construct marvelous sound edifices.
Braida and de Joode shape their collaborations with a remarkable dexterity. The melody that filters through “Is It Here” is given dimension on the piano both in the flow of the notes and the attack of the chords. de Joode plays an array of runs to complement the melody. He soon shifts gears with an animated slapping of the bass. The percussive effect ups the pulse, but he goes back to a gentler strumming of the strings when Braida turns to a mellow mood. They have come full circle seamlessly.
Braida and de Joode play a cat and mouse game on “Wadi,” circling each other, making swift darts and then drawing back. Silence and space, the bowed classical strains on the bass and the exclamations on the piano are in continuous motion, surging and retreating. The atonal finds its nook in the dry sawing of de Joode’s arco until Braida ushers in the melody. The emphasis waxes and wanes but the two make sure that this wadi never runs dry of exceptional ideas.
The understanding between de Joode and Braida gives the record the grain of a unique experience.
Nic Jones - All About Jazz
One of the many conventions subverted by music as open as this is the one of soloist and accompanist, and here piano and bass fuse in a way that lie outside of the tradition, even in any of its less inclusive forms. Both musicians are restrained in the sense that they're alert to the value of silence or near-silence, and the results are often marked by a certain angularity, as if each of them is over-compensating for the presence of the other.
That, however, is not a problem. On "Wadi," at thirteen minutes by some distance the longest piece here, the discontinuity of mood and level of input make for an intriguing whole. Alberto Braida's unassuming shards of piano notes work at odds but at the same time empathetically with Wilbert de Joode's arco bass.
The two minutes of "Dome C" find both musicians working with their instruments' extended vocabulary. Whereas in some instances this might be enough to guarantee a certain feeling of fatigue on the part of the listener, here it serves as another example of the diversity of territory the duo covers.
The understanding the duo has reached with silence is again apparent on "Tobol." They seem to court the idea of it as though it was the most seductive thing, before giving themselves up to Cecil Taylor-like dynamics, albeit with de Joode mapping out radically different territory to what Henry Grimes might have done in a similar context.
Set against this, the darkly elegiac "Adrar" could almost be the work of a different duo. Representing such a radical departure in comparison; such is the role of silence here that the duo could almost be said to have become a trio.
This is a recital the very diversity of which hints at whole other emotions by comparison with sets of free improvisation in which inspiration self-evidently flags, but of course that might be down to the very nature of the context in which the music is made. Here however the aesthetics of the free are reemphasized with unassuming vigor.
Art Lange - Point of Departure
In his duo with Italian pianist Braida, coherence is not the issue; de Joode’s alternately determined and demure approach invokes a give-and-take, or occasionally a wait-and-see, of abstract design. The longest of these ten pieces, “wadi,” makes the process audible, beginning with tentative, undifferentiated chunks of material that float and clash until a connection is made and the tension is resolved in rhythmic agreement. In smaller doses they jostle and bump in loose, if restrained, maneuvering. Braida’s fondness for fragmented phrases is everywhere apparent, underlined by an acute sense of dynamics and touch — at times he seems to be barely dusting the keys, at others he sustains swirls and eddies of notes or grabs at chords brusquely. But his attention to color also reminds us that the piano is a sound box, as he draws from it accents of wood, metal, and chimes — muted and ringing.
Massimo Ricci - Touching Extremes
Braida is a pianist from Milan who has played with a who’s who of international new music - Wadada Leo Smith, Peter Kowald, Wolfgang Fuchs, Alessandro Bosetti, you name them. De Joode is a Dutch bassist defined by his website as “a veritable research scientist of bass pizzicato and bowing techniques”. Surprisingly, this CD represents your reviewer’s first meeting with both artists’ expression. I found the music essentially elegant, at times even crepuscular, with enough doses of personal insights amidst a few influences that are not exactly marked in red. Apart from “Wadi” which lasts about 13 minutes (never boring, we should say), the tracks are mostly on the short side - which is a plus in my opinion: that way, the exposition of one or more concepts gets framed in a restricted time span, which usually makes for concise, incisive statements. Although there are several instances in which many notes are played, with or without the help of extended techniques, this duo never transcends the limits of good taste; petulant chatter this ain’t. No provisional remedies, only firm gestures; Braida and De Joode know what they’re doing, their experience attributing the material a “composed” quality that increases the pleasure of appreciation. Hospitable improvisations that don’t ask for our patience more than the strict necessary, worthy of consideration under any point of view. A nice album.