The Howard Riley Trio with Barry Guy & Tony Oxley: Synopsis
Synopsis represents material originally issued on the “Incus” LP along with one additional and previously unreleased track, performed by the venerable trio of pianist Howard Riley, bassist Barry Guy and percussionist Tony Oxley who also utilizes live electronics on this outing. Essentially, this recording resides within the classic and oft pioneering British free-jazz style of improvisation, and as some of us might surmise, the band delivers the goods in artful and curiously interesting fashion.
Throughout these five pieces, the “Howard Riley Trio” embarks on a journey that features minimalist themes and microtonal passages along with subtle counterattacks amid the often-eerie undercurrents, which are abetted by Oxley’s subliminal injections of analog EFX. Whereas on “Quantum”, the band emits a sensation of timeless bliss as they dart, jab and spar with fragmented lines atop converging dialogue. Here, Oxley exhibits his uncanny approach to drumming via expertly crafted accents, odd metered rhythms and radiant tonalities as the musicians surge towards a climactic finale spearheaded by Riley’s fluttering voicings and rhythmic block chords. On the piece titled “Ingot”, Barry Guy nimbly plucks his bass strings while alternating his cunning mode of execution with resonant arco lines in conjunction with Riley’s intricate maneuvers, as the duo explores dark regions of sound via a lower register attack. Therefore, Synopsis offers yet another archival snapshot of a very important period in the European improvisational scene.
* * * ½ (Out of * * * * *)
Track Listing: 1) Mandrel 2) Sirens 3) Quantum 4) Ingot 5) Runes
Personnel: Howard Riley; piano: Barry Guy; double bass & bass guitar: Tony Oxley; percussion & live electronics.