One thing that might be said about any great ensemble of improvisers is that any subgrouping of members might be isolated and seen as a core. That’s arguably the nature of music built from improvisation, at least when done well: paradoxically, the elements stand alone by leaning on each other.
As such, a core common to saxophonist Ingrid Laubrock’s band Anti-House and the trio Paradoxical Frog, not to mention drummer Tom Rainey’s fine four-piece Obbligato and a few other worthy ensembles, is the duo of Laubrock and pianist Kris Davis. This core is the one extracted for the album Blood Moon. And the core of that duo, in a manner of speaking, is the experience of playing in those other settings together.
Blood Moon is the first duo outing for Davis and Laubrock, and follows a recording by Laubrock and Aki Takase in the saxophonist’s series of piano duets for the Swiss label Intakt. The nine tracks include two open improvisations, but it’s the written works—with spontaneous variation, of course—that show they know what to do with their pairing. They’ve learned what they are from experience. The playing is beautiful, the themes assuredly understated, the music sublime. It’s a music that’s informed and aware, and that’s a point of elucidation in each of their discographies, both separate and shared.