By J.D. Considine | Published September 2020
The big question to ask about reedist Ingrid Laubrock and pianist Kris Davis’ duo album is simple: What took them so long?
The German saxophonist and Canadian pianist first teamed up in 2010, joining drummer Tyshawn Sorey in the remarkable trio Paradoxical Frog. Their compatibility was immediately obvious—both improvised with an almost reflexive compositional rigor and reacted to each other (and Sorey) as if mind-reading. Moreover, they kept turning up together, whether in ongoing ensembles, such as Laubrock’s Anti-House and the LARK quartet, or on one-offs like drummer Nick Fraser’s recent Zoning (Astral Spirits). In every case, they’ve fit together like yin and yang.
Blood Moon makes that connection explicit. Laubrock and Davis have naturally complementary skills, balancing composition and improvisation in mutually beneficial ways. Laubrock’s writing and playing offers an attention to detail that pays off both structurally and aesthetically, ensuring that the long lines and extended harmonies of “Flying Embers” are as satisfying melodically as they are intellectually.
Davis, for her part, buttresses the intervallic logic of “Snakes And Lattice” with a deft sense of rhythmic counterpoint, while the quietly absorbing read of “Golgi Complex” here offers a groove that’s as implicit as the initial versions on Davis’ own Diatom Ribbons were explicit.
Throughout, Blood Moon comes off as a conversation between two equally intriguing polymaths, leaving the listener hungry for more.
Blood Moon: Snakes And Lattice; Blood Moon; Gunweep; Flying Embers; Whistlings; Maroon; Golgi Complex; Elephant In The Room; Jagged Jaunts. (52:45)
Personnel: Ingrid Laubrock, tenor saxophone, soprano saxophone; Kris Davis, piano.