Danze degli scorpioni (Dance of the scorpions) brought together American, France-based master double bass player Barre Phillips with Italian clarinetist-sound painter Giancarlo Nino Locatelli for an ad-hoc free-improvised meeting at Jazzatelier Ulrichsberg, during Ulrichsberger Kaleidophon festival in May 2008. Phillips and Locatelli call this inspired meeting «dark moon music» (Phillips wordplay on the French Full Moon Ensemble that recorded in 1970 with Archie Shepp, for the ones «interested in the moon») and dedicate their live performance to another master improviser, Coleman Hawkins.
Phillips, who needs no introduction, and Locatelli – who is known for his work with Steve Lacy, Paul Lovens, Peter Kowald, Elliott Sharp, Zeena Parkins, Wadada Leo Smith and Ab Baars and Ig Henneman among many others – are highly experienced and resourceful improvisers who mastered the art of the moment, always in search of new challenging dynamics, taking risks and expanding the sonic palette of their instruments with their personal, extended techniques. This performance features four nuanced and imaginative conversations, two extended pieces and two short encores, between two kindred souls but strong-minded personalities who do not shy from intense sonic arguments, before an appreciative audience.
Dancer-choreographer Julyen Hamilton (who is also a singer-songwriter) wrote insightful, poetic liner notes and found in this performance that the musicians and the audience cohabit in a shared process of reciprocatory imagination, with generous doses of compassion and mischief. «… For these two musicians, listening is queen; / here the space for song is placed in silence; / here the ears lead and the tongue follows / here the ears dictate and the fingers oblige…» Hamilton notes.
Phillips concluded after this demanding but inspired performance: «We are not a band on the marketplace». Indeed, there are rare occasions when you experience such a high level of poetic musicianship, rich imagination, compassion and even mischief.
Barre Phillips (double bass, vocals), Giancarlo Nino Locatelli (Bb clarinet, bass clarinet, vocals)