Monday, October 10, 2011

TIN/BAG's "Bridges": Trumpet-Guitar Duets from Kris Tiner and Mike Baggetta

Bridges (Mabnotes 002) jumps right in and so we will too.It's a well thought-out series of duets between trumpeter Kris Tiner and electric guitarist Mike Baggetta. There is something about its mellow quality that reminds me of Miles's In A Silent Way. Not because it has rhythmic pulse or pronounced head melodies, but because there is a tonal melodality going on with Mike's pure-toned electric sound and Kris's straight- or muted-horn lyricism.

It has a slight middle-period ECM ambiance as well. The comparisons stop there, though, because TIN/BAG most definitely create their own ways around and through the notes. Half the composition credits go to Tiner, half to Baggetta and there often is a seamlessness between improvisation and composition. Mike works through some variously articulated chordal envelopes and single lines of interest while Kris applies mind-soul leverage to his note choices so that most everything stands out as refreshingly out of the ordinary. It's a duet that uses well the spaces between the notes to create a kind of creative-cosmic vacuum packing. Cliches have no place here. It's rather a place where melodic invention, gentle chordal ostinatos and sotto voce trumpet exhortations gain dynamics and then just as dramatically lapse back into the whisper of remembrance, of melody re-recalled. The set concludes with a lovingly rubato rendition of Dylan's "Just Like A Woman," and it seems like the right way to end.

This is a finely original, small-detailed set of nine miniatures. Gems if you will.

And it makes for an excellent listen. Recommended.

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