Chris Pitsiokos: Speak in Tongues CD
" Solo release from Brooklyn alto saxophonist Chris Pitsiokos really smokes. The six tracks are a great run through of the improvisational impulses and exceptional skill commanded by the saxophonist. Speak in Tongues and Hope for the Gift of Interpretation is his first solo long player since 2015.
Pitsiokos starts the album off with a dedication to Bird. The piece is imbued with a steady flowing stream-of-consciousness lyricism, pocked with gnarly honks and high pitched cries. The second piece, addressed to Anthony Braxton, meanders initially but gathers a ferocious momentum, increasing in speed and intensity before mushrooming into bellowing torrents of molten brass and splintered reed.
The third piece is in homage to the great Roscoe Mitchell. Pitsiokos is in turns playful, over-the-top, soulful, brittle. Of all the tracks I enjoyed this one the most, as the saxophonist gives himself a little extra space at the front end to elaborate on some really colorful motifs before releasing the hounds.
The second half of the record begins with a dedication to Ornette Coleman. Long, heavy vibrations crackle like black powder sparklers, folded with irregular silences and finished up in peels of shrieking machine gun caterwaul. On his piece for Eric Dolphy the altoist sets off a constant stream of rattling, high speed symmetry over most of the track before downshifting into an extended and melodic gloaming. The last piece is dedicated to John Zorn, and it's on this piece more than any of the others that Pitsiokos really channels the essence of the subject. In all honesty if I had a blind listen I would have said it was Zorn. Pitsiokos channels multiple "strategies" in this short and intense."