Most instances of percussion and horn duets make little music and a lot of noodling.
Drummer/percussionist Dave Cappello and trombonist Jeff Albert’s addition to this type of recordings ranks more toward the classics of this genre (Ed Blackwell/Don Cherry, Max Roach/Cecil Taylor) than the dregs. Each track on this CD is improvised from one afternoon’s recording session.
Albert and Cappello have been playing together for over a decade, and both are masters at going beyond notes into shading, coloring, and more pure music. For something like this to work, both players have to listen very carefully to each other, and this is in evidence on tracks like “2” where the piece builds to a climax of Albert’s trombone playing wild bursts as Cappello works his way all around his drums and drum kits, playing the sides and rims and who knows what else.
There are both abstract meditations here and deconstructed grooves. Track 4 has elements of the space jungle explorations of Sun Ra while both musicians break down a Latin beat on Track 3 and create their own parade on Track 5. Cappello and Albert easily transition from more conventional sounds to more avant garde sounds without ever losing the basic idea for each song. Given the nature of this record, it must be accepted on its own terms.
This is not what most people consider conventional music. However, the music and the musicians here never sit still.
Both musicians challenge themselves and challenge listeners without alienating them, and that makes for a fine CD.