"Two Baris, One Mind...and a Bass "
(traditional haiku poem)
You can buy a copy of our CD directly from us here on the web or at Downtown Music Gallery.
What is this music?
TWO SISTERS, INC (Dave Sewelson/Claire Daly/ Dave Hofstra) – Scaribari: Two Baris, One Mind…And A Bass (Baritunes 0717; USA)
Dave Sewelson is one of the oldest members of the early downtown scene, having worked with Wayne Horvitz in the late 70's/early 80's with a fine record out on Wayne's old label, Theatre for Your Mother. Sewelson has continued to work with William Parker, Freedomland and The Daves with bassist Dave Hofstra. Mr. Hofstra is also an original member of the downtown scene having played with Elliott Sharp on different blues and rock bands, Freedomland, for William Gagliardi and Joel Forrester and loads of others. Claire Daly has also played bari sax for Jorel Forrester. Hence, this is anodd line-up of two bari saxes and bass.
Sewelson wrote 3 of the 8 songs with a handful of standards chosen. “Late Late” does have that bluesy, late-night sort of vibe with a smoky bari solo from both bari's. “Scaribari” has a great, growl-toned double sax groove/sound with a most expressive double-bass solo and haunting bari saxes swirling slowly together. “Zsa Zsa” gives both bari's a chance to swing together nicely but at a more medium tempo, not them lightning flash bebop changes pace. “Razzbari” is done with some great finger-snapping charm and it has a melody that is hard to forget. “Life is Just a Bowl of Cherries” is sung by all three of these players and is a complete hoot. There is something immensely charming about the way both bari saxes play their exquisite harmonies together, in all of their warm-toned splendor. Perfect music for smooching or at least some slow dancing with the partner of your choice.
Bruce Lee Gallanter at DMG
as reviewed by Kirpal Gordon
The cover of ScariBari is the tip off: this is gonna be nuts. Never mind the title or the tags: Two Sisters Inc. or Two Baris, One Mind...and a Bass. The artwork hits first. Two gleaming psychedelically edged baritone saxophones face each other like an Ira Cohen photo or a Rorschach Test under which a house cat is yawning. So from the get-go, we know this blues trio of low notes might have citizenship on other planets, but can we travel the galaxy on the tentacle reach of their sound?
Track 2, the title piece, a bluesy bit of deadpan from the castle crypt, exemplifies this tendency. Although both horns are obviously baritones, you don't need the liner notes ("Thanks to stereo, Sewelson is on the left and Daly is on the right"), to know who's playing what. Their styles, though entirely complimentary, are instantly identifiable. Like Ratliff's well-made point about the classic Trane quartet, ie, they got so telepathic on the stand from playing so many gigs, these three have been playing together in one band or another---The Microscopic Septet, People Like Us, among others---for close to twenty years now. So when they come to a juncture, anything can happen---and does! They're full of surprises, too.
On the more uptempo "Zsa Zsa"---which sounds like a schmedley of three of Bird's blues, "Chi Chi," "Si Si" and "Blue for Alice"---the trio is at their most inventive, their be-bop roots delightfully on display. Hofstra steps out with a bass break that is pure–edge-of-the-seat, and the baris take multiple flights, sometimes simultaneously, and it all comes together in pure resolve on that last note. Sewelson's "RazzBari" is next, a catchy tune, the kind of melody these three love to swing with and develop. It starts out in finger pop with Hofstra playing the melody on bass before the horns take turns pulling in the abstract and turning it out into soulful, playful expression.
So just when you think you can predict what they are going to do next, up comes their cover of "Life Is Just a Bowl of Cherries." Sung by all three in a vocal trade reminiscent of Hendricks, Lambert and Ross, they take the lyrics apart, with vocal departures and spoken word commentaries as "livin' and laughin' or "It's the baris (not berries)" become the refrain. We see their approach to word improvisation is no different from their musical improv: they cut the syllables/beats into different sizes, noodle around combining and re-combining until they explore all the possibilities. At one point, they pare down the sound to its most basic parts, and it's like a classical composition from the Estonian Arvo Parte---ruminating, meditative, Russian Orthodox medicinal---before they put the lyric/melody back together.
Just when you think they've covered the waterfront and can squeeze no more humor out of the blues scale, Sewelson, deep in a dream, possibly existing in another dimension, steps out in a bad-ass vocal stylin' on "I Almost Lost My Mind." He proves that singing and playing the blues, no matter how seriously or comically, is our best hope against getting the blues. I saw this up close and personal when I caught Two Sisters at a small club on the Lower East Side earlier in the year. In a room that seated no more than thirty people, thirty people sat as the trio played a set that managed to have us all laughing and tapping our feet. Talk about a band in search of a mid-life crisis, it was a bowl of cherries from first note to last. Sewelson kept joking about this tiny venue being their only NYC show, but Norman Hewitt, the astute artistic director for the Blues to Bop Music Fest in Lugano, Switzerland, was in the house and signed them on the spot to play that date later that summer. Lucky for all of us, they went into the studio and made this CD so they would have some music to sell at the festival.
It ain't no thing but a chicken wing, surely, but it drove home to me the living idea about this music. Note to Ratliff: don't sweat your record collection. The music is in the venue, and ya needn't sweat the size of the audience. As long as there are places to play, whether clubs and concerts, jams and hangs, studios and festivals, and musicians to play them, the Trane legacy will live on even more inclusively than we could ever know.