Saxophonist Biagio Coppa has dabbled in improvised music and polyrhythmic expressions embellished with African-American idioms since 1996. An avid pupil of Ornette Coleman’s “harmolodic” concept which couples harmonies with melodies to amass into a congregation of bustling movements, Coppa’s tracks display multiple voices all paving their way with impromptu verses and perceptive comping through the tracks. His latest release Antagonisti Androgeni from Ruby Flower Records features Nate Wooley on trumpet, Cory Smythe on piano, Trevor Dunn on bass, and Tyshaw Sorey on drums. Produced by Ana-Isabel Ordonez, Antagonisti Androgeni is a convergence of European-flavored orchestras and avant garde principles. What manifests is a community of expressions toggling and jostling, tugging and soaring as the quintet sift through each other sometimes knotting their phrases and sometimes disengaging from their entanglements making sonic patterns that move in every which way possible.
Their rapport moves in extremes from being schizophrenic to being pacifist making combinations that manifest into a peculiar musical language creating a unique persona emanating from their synthesis. As a leader and musician, it is perceivable that Coppa implements a “sound painting” technique in the tracks encouraging a copious amount of individuality. The title track which comes in Part 1 and Part 2, makes ample use of counter-lines, jagged melodies and polyrhythms. Voices emerge in both contrasting textures and complementary patterns permeating a society of multiple cultures. Coppa’s gyrating motions and Wooley’s chirping trumpet chase after each other at certain points while the jittery patterns of Smythe’s piano keys add a third voice. The complexity of their dynamics can be pulverizing or soothing. They canvass a wide breadth of patterns in every composition taking advantage of impromptu tangents and magnetic interplays fusing and defusing the intensity within a single composition. Elements which are used to craft ballads, sonatas, concertos, and modal jazz and are sewn into every track so each number is multi-faceted enabling the quintet to show a camaraderie that champions the magic inherent in avant garde music.
The intricate twists and turns embedded in Coppa’s track are more ad-lib than intentional. The freedom to improvise is palpable encouraging the concentration of the musicians to persevere along the wobbly keel of the multiple rhythms and the erratic twits of the horns. Antagonisti Androgeni is an excursion with moments of solemn contemplation and high flying blitz stringing one extreme to the next but never seating still.
Musicians: Biaggio Coppa on saxophones, Nate Wooley on trumpet, Cory Smythe on piano, Trevor Dunn on bass, and Tyshaw Sorey on drums
Tracklisting: Goccia, Antagonisti Androgeni 1, Antagonisti Androgeni 2, One Size Fits All, First Come First Serve
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