Bassist Kent Carter moved from the United States to Europe in the 60’s which has led him on somewhat of a storybook course through the British Free-Jazz movement, stints with Steve Lacy, Paul Bley and many others. Here, the master bassist performs a series of duets with the equally adept violinist Albrecht Maurer taking place at Carter’s recording studio in the quaint town of “Juillaguet”, which appropriately translates into The Juillaguet Collection.
Throughout these nine pieces, Carter and Maurer exhibit uncanny intuitiveness especially since most of these pieces are improvised as the duo obtain the most from their resonant, wooden-toned instruments which for the most part is all encompassing and at times riveting! The first piece, “Woodworks” features the respective musicians trading or alternating motifs all within the context of the base framework as they dutifully expound upon ideas and suggestions. Here and throughout we are treated to nimble fingering and intricate plucking by the respective artists. Imagery prevails through subliminal themes, which may hint at English folk, classical stylizations or jazzy improvisation. On “Woodworks”, Carter maintains a rigid pace with Maurer through his inventive linear development, rapid pulse, inflections and nuance which is also evident on the second piece titled, “Riviere”. Here, the duo immerse themselves in complex structures and mini-concepts yet sustain a loose vibe while at times anchoring their themes into brief passages that suggest a neo-classical approach. Strict, disciplined teamwork comes to the forefront on “Standing Stones” as the twosome work closely while sharing similar wavelengths which is an ongoing trait throughout the entire affair. They perform seemingly triumphant themes along with Maurer’s meticulous lines and sweet-tempered notes in unison with Carter’s magnificent bowed-bass work. The musicians churn out harmonious choruses, explore various angles and engage in microtonal passages that equalize the big scheme of things in colorful and contrasting fashion.
The Juillaguet Collection is a fascinating set from two extremely talented pros! Besides the technicalities and overall superior musicianship, the listener should easily envision the smiles that these musicians were more than likely wearing during the recording process. All in all, a serious-minded exhibition of cunning improv and structured compositions as the positive vibes and glittering performances should satisfy the listener while instilling a sense of jubilance along the way. Highly Recommended * * * * ½