Photo: Bryony McIntyre

Steve Baczkowski and Ravi Padmanabha

What we said at the time…

A review of this duo recently held them up as proof that there was still life in sax / drums collaborations.  I wasn’t really aware that they were dying, what with Flaherty/ Corsano seemingly reinventing the form in a post hardcore fury.  But certainly Steve and Ravi’s collaborative work easily forms part of that lineage, alongside both recent firebrands like Flaherty/ Corsano and also those great multidirectional historical sax / cans duo’s; say Frank Lowe / Rashied Ali.  But who cares about comparisons: you certainly don’t need to have heard any of that other work to get something from these guys.  This duo is the real thing, operating on their own terms; they’re immediate, visceral and they exhilaratingly swing between sparring with and complementing each other.  And they burn with a flickering intensity, effortlessly switching between raucous, pealing noise, (full of fluttering overtones, circular breathing, foghorn multi-phonics and some booming, muscular pugilism), and cries of beguiling lyricism, sometimes almost despondent in their emotional intensity as whispered sax phrases float in a timbral cloud of bowed metal and rumbling toms.  I can’t wait to see them live; it’s their first show together outside the USA and by all accounts live is where it’s at for these cats.

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    Credits / license
    • CC BY-NC-ND 4.0