Duo Histoire has released a warming collection of saxophonist Nick Russoniello and guitarist Murilo Tanouye’s most treasurable performance works. After a vigorous introduction, we ease into the sleazy Autumn from Piazzolla’s The Four Seasons of Buenos Aires. It’s a piece I last heard at TSO’s Live Sessions [Limelight, August 2017] and though here reduced in instrumentation, this is at no sacrifice to spirit or presence.
Piazzolla bookends two other works. In Cloud 8 by Stuart Greenbaum, Russoniello’s singing melodies receive thoughtful responses from Tanouye – it’s a work to internalise; to sink into. Russoniello then showcases extended techniques in Phillip Houghton’s Cave Painting from The Dreaming. The composer, who passed away earlier this year, stated the work draws on textures of the Australian outback, and indeed, it feels sparse and transportive. The second movement Wildflower captures the beauty of its namesake through Russoniello’s pure tone and minimal vibrato, interweaving with the guitar. Gecko is fun and bright, well-matched by Russoniello’s colours.
On a micro level, there are issues of rhythmic consistency from Russoniello but my main concern is with levels: for much of the album, the guitar sounds settled into the background, in stark contrast to Russoniello’s open tone. Returning to Piazzolla and Libertango, we bid farewell with the same composer’s Winter.