Touching Extremes review by Massimo Ricci

The weight of a gesture is enhanced by conciseness in relation to the muscular strength of who makes it. In that sense the material comprised by Old And Unwise – a full hour of duos for double bass and alto saxophone – frequently seems to relate to the substantial aspect of artistry rather than eliciting the idea of Pindaric flights and schismatic tendencies. Not that Chevillon and Berne are not able to act as sympathetic visionaries when they choose to; on the contrary, their ability of mingling skill and lyricism in a piece like “Quelque Chose Vacille” is inspiring, and in the following “Back Up The Truck” the art of manly defence is completely repudiated in favour of a visit to the melodic vaults. Yet the physical definition of the respective timbres is always what emerges as paramount over consecutive listens. Perspicacious dichotomies and self-imposed constraints characterize Berne’s phrasing in every circumstance; however, when he lets the sax yelp and howl it never comes as unexpected, more a logical development of previously explored options. Chevillon is a terrific instant composer, capable of altering the unchangeable features of an instrument with sharp decisions, significant technical grounding and the unaffectedness of a pluck-and-throb shrewdness which is typical of few master bassists, those who are equally good at sustaining a conversation and let individuality shine during solitary moments of exposure. There’s no finding a weak point throughout, time literally flying thanks to copious doses of outstanding music.


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