It is quite difficult to surprise Mats Gustafsson about new, extended techniques of playing the saxophone but Catalan, Barcelona-based sax player Don Malfon (aka Alfonso Muñoz) did exactly that. «What Don is doing is a whole new thing!» wrote Gustafsson in his liner notes to Malfon’s debut solo album «On Resonance». «He has total control over the instrument, with advanced extended techniques and various mutes and tools – in a way I haven’t heard before! The exactness of the music is stellar. Precise music with clear directions that still feels FREE!»
And not only Gustafsson enjoys the unique sonic explorations of Malfon, but also Gustafsson’s close comrade, Catalan master pianist Agustí Fernández who co-produced «On Resonance» for his own label and performed with Malfon in a trio with master double bass player Barry Guy. «On Resonance» features a series of eight, obviously resonant, experiments with the saxophone as a wind tube that generates radical sounds and noises. Sometimes Malfon comes close to the territories of French-Lebanese sax player Christine Abdelnour and Lebanese trumpeter Mazen Kerbaj, who also like to attach objects and mutes to their instruments bells, but more often Malfon treads in his very own territory.
Malfon is a true explorer. He does not try to establish melodic veins or to build tension or sketch linear development but he is totally focused on the elastic, delicate qualities of sound and how he can sculpt and shape these qualities. He does so with great degree of control and precision as on the first piece «Resonance No. 1», that expands all that he has learned from John Butcher work, but also with fiery passion as on «Resonance No. 4», the one that is most common with the work of other great sax innovators as Evan Parker, Anthony Braxton, Butcher and Gustafsson himself. But even on «Resonance No. 4» he shifts his saxophone into a machine that spits wild howls of long-gone dinosaur birds calls. «Resonance No.2» turns the saxophone into an industrial machine with wishes and moods of its own. «Resonance No. 5» sounds like an inspired orchestration of lost radio waves and buzzing, white noises. On «Resonance No. 6» Malfon plays on the sax as if it was a violin and extracts lyrical, emotional cry, but immediately afterward, he explodes with the child-like, chaotic game of «Resonance No. 7». The last, «Resonance No. 8», dives deep into a surprising, reserved, meditative terrains.
As Gustafsson says: «Gràcies, Don!. This shit is spectacular! And unpredictable!». You should try this kind of sax gold too.
Don Malfon (s)