Cooper-Moore/Stephen Gauci

Conversations Vol. 2

One runs the risk of the overcooked metaphor when describing this music. Even the labels that have been affixed to this iteration of jazz — avant-garde, free — push us into a certain kind of expectation. But in the second installment of Conversations, pianist Cooper-Moore and tenor saxophonist Stephen Gauci are only contained by the expectation of what they hear inscribed in each other’s playing. It is true mastery of working together, trusting each other, not knowing where a collaboration would lead. The listener is better for it.

With improvisations like these, we are often searching, looking for something powerful and free. But several of these works just as easily evoke calm, an even-tempered vulnerability to an idea of freedom that may not be what we want or think needs to be. There is a certain power in not knowing.

If freedom is about trust and faith, it is also an honest expression of the courage inherent in stepping forth boldly, most beautifully expressed in “Improvisation Nine.” So, if a thick description of the music resists the artful metaphor, Conversations Vol. 2 does evoke something more powerful.

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