Solo double bass releases are not any more a unique phenomenon but for many listeners it is still a matter of an acquired taste. Unfortunately, such listeners may skip his very fine fine release, bringing together two masters of the bull fiddle. Portugese, Rotterdam-based double bass player Gonçalo Almeida, member of Lama and Albatre trio and Spinifex quintet, and Amsterdam-based, double bass player Raoul van der Weide, known for his collaborations with pianist Burton Greene, drummer Günter Sommer and Ab Baars, who plays on this recording also on cello and objects..
Almeida and van der Weide recorded eight dialogues in a studio in Rotterdam. It is not only a meeting between two resourceful free-improvisers, but also a meeting between generations and approaches. Van Der Weide belongs to the first European generation of free-improvisers, a key figure in the Amsterdam scene and a visual artist. Like many Dutch musicians from his generation, his performances can be quite theatrical, especially when he plays on different objects or attaches these objects to the bass or alternates with the cello. Almeida is also an experienced free improviser, also as a solo double bass improviser (his first release on his label Cylinder Recordings was a solo double bass album, «Monologues Under Sea Level», 2015), but he feels at home playing more structured modern jazz music.
The eight short improvised pieces, all titled «Picture», stress the contrasts between these bass masters but also the conversational, immediate interplay between the two. Both employ an impressive arsenal of extended bowing techniques and both focus on timbral exploration of the basses sonic spectrum. Some of these pieces are brilliant like «Picture 3» with its imaginative usage of the bows, as playful percussive instruments and later used to sketch a subtle chamber piece; «Picture 5» with van der Weide playing on funny sounding objects, colliding with the warm, earthy sounding bass of Almeida; or the last «Picture 8» that begins with the most inventive and eccentric interplay of these restless improvisers but blossoms with a touching, gentle duo playing.
Gonçalo Almeida (b), Raoul van der Weide (b, c, obj)