The term elegance," is rarely utilized when referring to a jazz recording. In fact, elegant jass"might be an oxymoronic term. Sure, The Modern Jazz Quartet always performed in formal wear, and Duke Ellington evoked gracefulness in response to his advertised jungle music," but jazz has always bumped up against the high brow ceiling of more orthodox music. Enter the Aurora Trio of pianist Agustí Fernández, bassist Barry Guy and drummer Ramón López. Their music (lets call it poetry) increases the sophistication factor tenfold. Their original music is equivalent to Keith Jarrett's Standards Trio. A Moment's Liberty ...read more
One of the most noteworthy releases of 2013 was the Barry Guy New Orchestra's Mad Dogs (Not Two), a five disc compendium which collected largely freeform meetings between various subsets of the 11-piece company during their 2010 residency in Krakow. However even that copious set offered only a partial view of the Orchestra's range, a deficiency filled by the issue of Amphi + Radio Rondo which should perhaps be seen as a companion piece. Recorded in St Johann in Tirol, Austria in 2013, the session showcases the BGNO's rendition of the two titular charts by the British bassist. Renowned as ...read more
Venerable British bassist and improviser, Barry Guy is the director of the New Orchestra but also serves as an enabler for the musicians' creative sparks to flourish. Other than frequent collaborator American trumpeter Herb Robertson, this aggregation consists of largely, European avant-jazz luminaries, prefacing the agenda on a hybrid chamber-orchestral slant, suitably noted by Guy in the press release. One of two extended works, Amphi" commences with a gathering of the troops slant, where the respective artists enter the scene in waves via introspective and capacious dialogues. Guy composed this opus in seven parts for baroque violinist Maya ...read more
The powerhouse international trio's third effort radiates an uncanny, or perhaps uncommon framework combining beauty--due to Agusti Fernandez's lyrically rich and gorgeous statements--coupled with power and free-form elaborations. For instance, on the 18-minute opener A Moment's Liberty," Fernandez opens with solitary phrasings via lush balladry while transmitting a sense of loneliness until the band embarks on a topsy-turvy voyage, drenched with slippery deviations and drummer Ramon Lopez's rolling wave type patterns. Aided by the translucent audio engineering, you could probably hear a pin drop during the quieter passages, but even when the band is going for the gusto ...read more
After twenty one recordings there may not be too much more to say about the superlative English threesome of saxophonist Evan Parker, bassist Barry Guy and drummer Paul Lytton. Some 30 years on since their debut Tracks (Incus, 1983), they converse in a language entirely of their own making, which relies on a staggering density of ideas, chops to burn and a preternatural responsiveness. Live At Maya Recordings Festival, captured at Winterthur, Switzerland in 2011 forms another top notch entry into an already distinguished discography.Nowadays operating as an occasional unit rather than a regular touring ensemble, they nonetheless ...read more
Iconoclastic saxophonists Mats Gustafsson and Evan Parker furnish the most customary duo outlets for master bassist Barry Guy, so Lithuanian reedman Liudas Mockunas' situation on Lava is an exposed one. However, he acquits himself well in a voice entirely his own. Co-founder of the No Business imprint, Mockūnas weighs in as one of the country's premier improvisers, appearing alongside an ever increasing catalogue of Baltic, Scandinavian, and US performers. Previous appearances have placed him in a Peter Brötzmann-like trio on Live at 11:20 (No Business, 2010) and in an impromptu freewheeling duet with Japanese pianist Ryoji Hojito on Vacation Music ...read more
Barry Guy New OrchestraAlchemiaKrakow, PolandNovember 20-23, 2012 Now in its seventh year, the annual autumn jazz extravaganza--Krakowska Jesien Jazzowa, in the beautiful Polish city of Krakow--has gone from strength to strength. It's impossible to see all the acts on the bill without spending several months in residence as they come in blocks from early October through to the start of December. Famed in recent years for its vibrant jazz scene, the festival attracts top notch acts from America, and Chicago in particular. On the bill earlier in 2012 were reed titan Peter Brötzmann, in consort ...read more
Barry Guy / London Jazz Composers OrchestraHarmos Live At SchaffhausenIntakt2012For those who thought they had missed their chance to see one of the most impressive agglomerations of talent in European improvisation, the 2008 appearance of the London Jazz Composers Orchestra in Switzerland was manna from heaven. Having last played in Berlin a decade previously, it seemed the opportunity had well and truly passed, with the challenging economics and the practical difficulties inherent in keeping a 18 strong orchestra in good working order overwhelming. However, following a commission by the Schaffhauser Jazz Festival ...read more
The Thing with Barry GuyMetal!No Business Records2012In science, a substance which causes an increase in the rate of a chemical reaction is called a catalyst. In musical combinations, the inclusion (or sometimes even subtraction) of one player can have a similar result, often completely altering the regular dynamic. So it proves on Metal! where Scandinavian power trio The Thing are transformed by the addition of English bass maestro Barry Guy. However the foursome's interplay, captured in sparkling sound from a live date in the Lithuanian capital Vilnius, smacks of alchemy transcending any ...read more
Barry Guy seems to be one of the most convincing figures in a long line of contemporary innovators whose discoveries possess everlasting value. Being a diverse improviser, a bassist of exceptional technique, an accomplished composer and a big band leader, this artist amazes by the scope of his interests and his variety of his accomplishments. Guy held a concert with Mats Gustafsson in Lithuania on January 11th, 2009. The short-but-eventful visit was crowned by the glorious performance at St. Kotryna Church. Guy played solo, in duo with Gustafsson, and in a sextet with Gustafsson and Lithuanian musicians Liudas ...read more
In what could easily mistaken for a release on the ECM label, Morning Glory inhabits that crisp minimalist style so familiar to producer Manfred Eicher. Surprisingly enough, this studio recording, with bonus Live In New York disc, is delivered by three of today's most zealous improvisers and outcats. Formed in 2005, the trio's previous release, Aurora (Maya, 2006), began bassist Barry Guy established their improvisation bona fides with saxophonist Evan Parker's intellectual explorations and Mats Gustafsson's noisier ones. Each player also has a dedication to classical and chamber musics and perhaps that is where these compositions and improvisations ...read more
Saxophonist Evan Parker, bassist Barry Guy and drummer Paul Lytton have playing together in one form or another since 1972. Their longtime association has created improvised magic, and their appearances are legendary. In 2009, the trio shared the stage with trumpet phenom Peter Evans at Casa da Música, and this impressive recording is the result.The Parker/Guy/Lytton trio was first documented on Tracks (Incus, 1983). Since then, they have released multiple discs, the last being Nightwork (Marge, 2010). They have also, from time to time, collaborated with other artists such as pianists Marilyn Crispell and Alexander von Schlippenbach, and ...read more
Nightwork: Live At The Sunset captures an amazing live performance in early 2010 from saxophonist Evan Parker, bassist Barry Guy, and percussionist Paul Lytton. The virtuosity and high communication level between these three improvisational masters is front and center for its two improvised pieces. There is a stark contrast in how the three work together in this trio versus the larger context of Parker's Electro-Acoustic Ensemble, creating a sound that appears brighter and more direct. The opener, Cohobation," starts off with Parker's slow tenor sax answered by Guy's bowed acoustic bass. Eight minutes later, Lytton's skittering drums ...read more
Pianist Agusti Fernandez and bassist Barry Guy are two great solo improvising musicians that have a rare talent to cooperate in music making, combining their talents for an ever greater sound. So the question is, why haven't they recorded a duet until now?
Spaniard Fernandez is an original voice, perhaps best described as the love child of the disparate styles of Cecil Taylor and Keith Jarrett. That said, he can shred (if that is possible) the piano and alternately produce wrenching passages that force an emotional pause. His collaborations in duo have been, perhaps his finest moments. Highlights include Critical ...read more
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