Jeff Kaiser & Ernesto Diaz-Infante - "Pith Balls And Inclined Planes"
(pfMENTUM 2000, PFMCD005)
Ernesto Diaz-Infante - "Solus" (Pax Recordings 2000, PR90250)

From Aural Innovations #13 (October 2000)

Pith Balls And Inclined Planes is an interesting duo performance with Kaiser on trumpet, flugelhorn, electronics, and voices, and Diaz-Infante on acoustic guitar and voices. The music is a freeform avant-garde blend of jazz and John Cage, the best moments of which feature Kaiser's horns dueling with Ernesto's prepared guitar that produce some cool electro-acoustic avant jazz freakouts.

"My Machines Came From Too Far Away" opens the disc with a cool jazz horn. The sound is almost standard jazz. But the guitar is completely freeform with Ernesto using what sounds like a sort of plucking method. This combination is the trademark sound of the album and the duo have struck upon an intriguing style. The two musicians seem to be in complete contrast with one another, yet thrown together have managed to find a pleasant combination.

Among my favorite tracks is "The Unreasonable Power Of The Diagrams", a cool horn and guitar jam. The music has a nice groove to it and straddles the line between mainstream and avant-garde. Ernesto's playing style here makes the guitar sound somewhat like a marimba. "She Surreptitiously Introduced Colored Shirts" is another standout track. Sounding like an electro-acoustic symphony warmup, the music develops into a fast paced, even chaotic, treated string drone. It's always playful, but also manages to be atmospheric in a strange way. "Outside, Three Tennis Courts" is similar but features more of the duo's horn/guitar jazz duo style to make for a great dueling number between the two.

In summary, this is adventurous stuff and Diaz-Infante and Kaiser have managed to produce something that is quite enjoyable and certainly a bit different. Adventurous jazz fans and anyone into creatively crafted avant garde music will dig this.

For more information you can visit the pfMENTUM web site.
Contact via snail mail at pfMENTUM, PO Box 1653; Ventura, CA 93002.

If variety is the spice of life then Ernesto Diaz-Infante is the musical equivalent of a fiery habanero. My introduction to Ernesto's music was through his "Psychedelic Landscapes" collaboration with Rotcod Zzaj, and now these two discs. And all three are about as different as music can get. On Solus, Ernesto offers up 13 solo piano works that exude both passion and impressive musicianship. Running a gamut of influences from classical to jazz, the music also has the expected touches of experimentation and the avant-garde. I don't typically listen to solo piano works so it's hard for me to dissect this, but I'm impressed with Ernesto's variety of interests when compared with the Kaiser and Zzaj collaborations. And... word from the W.O.O. camp is that we can expect an Ernesto/W.O.O. collaboration soon as well!

For more information you can email Ernesto Diaz-Infante at
Contact via snail mail at Pax Recordings; PO Box 697; Pacific Grove, CA 93950

Reviewed by Jerry Kranitz

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