Ken Filiano and Bonnie Barnett | Trio For Two

Bonnie Barnett – vocals | Ken Filiano – double bass and effects

Recorded, mixed and mastered by Jim Clouse at Park West Studios, Brooklyn, NY. Produced by Ken Filiano and Bonnie Barnett. Cover painting – “Navajo, Gemsbok and Tassilli”, watercolor collage (2000) by Ellen Van Fleet. Bonnie photo by Jogn Kannofsky 2006. All rights reserved. Ken photo by Luis Catarino 2005. All rights reserved. Layout and design by Jeremy Drake. All music FMZ Music Co. bmi and Flizmo Music bmi. Use of excerpt from “Composition As Explanation”, by Gertrude Stein, was granted by the Estate of Gertrude Stein, through its Literary Executor, Mr. Stanford Gann, Jr. of Levin & Gann. P.A.

Tracklist: 1. Boerum [4:32] 2. Discreet Alliances [3:52] 3. Verdigris [6:03] 4. Aromas of the Mind [4:31] 5. After the Fall [9:49] 6. Urgent Attitudes [9:29] 7. Composition As Explanation (text is verbatim excerpt from 1926 essay by Gertrude Stein of the same title)

When a pair of improvising artists

takes a dip in the stream of sonic creativity, keeping their heads above water can be less of a challenge than deciding when enough is enough. Knowing when to end means listening into the future, both participants coming to the same conclusion at the same time: that silence is the correct choice for that moment.

So when vocalist Bonnie Barnett suggested to Ken Filiano, bassist of choice for the likes of Paul Smoker, Vinny Golia, Richard Grossman and Dom Minasi, to name a few, “Let’s think in terms of short pieces this time,” she wasn’t attempting to set up the potential for a “hit single” or a clever sound-byte but rather, to establish a context for focusing their mutual energies. Their previous Nine Winds release, Live at Roulette, with a full band, was essentially one long improv so this time, she wanted something a little different.

And from the first plucked notes and cooed responses, it’s clear that they are capturing it. Barnett’s vocal approach is evocative, provocative, and impossible to pin down. She doesen’t sing, scream, talk or mutter in any one language, but in the space between all languages. “It’s really like jumping off a cliff into a heightened state of awareness,” she says, “while letting the emotion through.”

Barnett’s musical relationship with Ken Filiano dates back to 1989 when they “clicked” the first time they played together. Filiano is more than a bassist, more like an instant orchestrator who, with just a couple of delays and volume pedals, can create multiple parts that fade seemlessly in and out of each other.

For the Gertrude Stein piece, they take a different tack. “When we do a text piece,” Filiano says, “I have her give me a copy of it so I can read it. I play to the sound of Bonnie’s voice, but also to the structure of the content of the piece. If the information in a particular section is too dense, I just lay out.”

Clearly, a bassist who knows how to listen deeply. Now, it’s your turn. — Michael Davis (writer for All About Jazz)

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