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8 September 2009

Gato Barbieri - 'In Search of the Mystery' (Get Back)

This is an ESP classic from '67 that Get Back lovingly reissued on 'HQ 180 GRAM PURE VIRGIN VINYL' and it sounds great. Barbieri's deep, sexy sax tone resonates with that wide vibrato throughout. It's almost as wide as Ayler's yet it's modulated totally differently. Where you get a guttural energy from Albert, Gato kicks it out no less emotional, yet with totally different emotions. It's hard for me to look at this cover picture and not see something crafty in Gato's expression. So whenever I listen to this, I can't help but think that he'd be the wrong saxophonist to leave your girlfriend with alone, let's say you're at a party together and they're chatting by the keg. I'm sure he's a standup guy in real life but 'In Search of the Mystery' is free jazz's seduction music. The whole of side 1 really burns slowly, like a flickering candle that won't go out. Sirone is on bass (I love his work with the Revolutionary Ensemble); here, he's joined by Calo Scott's cello and there's times when I'm not sure who's doing what. You'd think there'd be some great interplay between the two, and while there are moments (mostly occuring on the second side), they really play second (and third) fiddle to Gato's deep reeds. It's the B-side, with 'Obsession no. 2' and 'Cinematque' that gestures towards more dissonant, grating Braxtonisms (though not too much - there's still something politely accessible about it all). I don't know if he found the mystery but I always want to listen to this in the late hours of the evening. A chillout/comedown record? But fiery as well, just not abrasive in the slightest. Barbieri's later Latin experiments scare me away but he forever gets a pass from me for Escalator Over the Hill and Liberation Music Orchestra, so he kept the right company.

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