Calling Coltrane, originally recorded in 1996 and the companion release to 2008's Earthship, is the most recent offering from avant-garde guitarist Sangeeta Michael Berardi. An homage to the later Impulse! recordings of the late tenor master, John Coltrane, Calling Coltrane pits free improvisation and striking rhythmic instability in a way that challenges the listener to find their own path to understanding Berardi's musical point.
The album features three unusual pairings of guitar and drum set that work to set the overall tone of the album. Throughout, Berardi and drummer John Esposito work to a fervor to both compliment each other and also push to find the limits of their own playing. It is in these three cuts, "Thank You, Trane," "Calling Coltrane," and "Wise One," that we hear some of Berardi's most inventive and personal playing.
As coarse as Calling Coltrane begins, there is a salient balance to this album. With the chaotic and seemingly disjointed feel of the drum set and guitar tracks, stability is found in "Sic for Rashied," where everyone makes their peace with the groove and they give in to some of their most sincere performances. This is most notably embraced by saxophone/flutist James Finn. Soaring and emotional Finn's solo in "Six for Rashied" gives gravity to an album that, up to this point, had yet to establish what it wanted to be.
The backside of Calling Coltrane features a pair of guitar and flute duets that are truly some of the finest music included. Pastoral and refined, Berardi's obligato guitar accompaniment over Finn's delicate flute performance delights.
Sangeeta Michael Berardi set out to create a tribute to the experimental and dynamic compositions of John Coltrane. Stretching the boundaries of what we understand and accept to be tonal music, Berardi himself forces the listener to withhold his music for their own judgment. Tracks to listen to: "Six for Rashied," "Three for the Trees," and "Five for Finn."