On 'Corinthian Leather' opening up here it's like a story with two narrators at the same time. They are not vying for supremacy. They are telling a story that overlaps but isn't essentially the same with only bit players at least here (bass and drums) filling out the scene and egging them on.
The narrators are leader tenor and soprano saxophonist Tony Malaby, a tough, free-jazz inclined bulldozer of a player and here guitarist Ben Monder more feisty than you usually hear him given how colouristic a player he often is on his own records.
If this was a theatre the technicians would have come on and removed all the furniture and probably turned off half the lights for the more elemental 'Recrudescence' – the dictionary says this means a ''breaking out afresh or into renewed activity''. Malaby does all the running and changes his register, drawing on tenderness as he transitions high up in the register.
Inspired by a New Jersey turnpike bridge where Malaby liked to play outside during Lockdown the main members of Sabino here go back a couple of decades to the year 2000 Arabesque label release of that name. (Malaby and Monder are with double bassist Michael Formanek who keeps a low profile throughout no pun intended and drummer Tom Rainey.)
Monder is pleasingly industrial on 'Scratch the Horse' welding his guitar into contorted, rugged, shapes that blitzkrieg the air matched somehow by Tom Rainey's terrier-like introduction. Again and again Malaby prevents listening complacency. He becomes Evan Parker-like in the detail of 'Insect Ward' for instance. The lack of resolution of the whole album is a factor because free-jazz such as heard here isn't about finding neat solutions. The title track has a wonderful counter-melody response from Monder that illustrates the last point. There is a kind of a searching going on and the success of the album lies in that search. But it's frustrating too.
Out on 7 January. 'Just Me Just Me' the last track from the album is streaming ahead of release