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Scott Fields Ensemble: Barclay

Glenn Astarita By

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Guitarist Scott Fields' distinctive approach to composition marches to the next level on this third installment of the "Beckett Trilogy," where he uses additional Samuel Barclay Beckett (1906-1989) plays as an inspiration for these three extended works, based on the novelist's text/plots.

The ensemble seemingly weaves some of Beckett's black comedy and humor into concise and rather spirited statements via geometric, non-linear and asymmetrically paced grooves with incongruent slants, offering some brain candy for your psyche to nibble on. Fields' complex works contain elements of pathos amid traces of melodic content and themes that are often renewed and deformed. And there's lots of counterpoint between the guitarist and tenor saxophonist Matthias Schubert in tandem with fractured pulses, false endings and rough-hewn free style excursions. The band undulates the current with variances in pitch and cadences that occasionally lead to some fun and frolic.

..." but the clouds ..." is one of three extended pieces designed with Avant chamber inferences, punk jazz, and quietude, segueing to a bit of fire and brimstone, spurred by cellist Scott Roller and drummer Dominik Mahnig's rambunctious exchanges. Fields' electric guitar distortion techniques spark a gritty, in-your-face muse, amped up by the drummer's jackhammer-like accents and brusque fills. Nonetheless, the quartet maintains a continuum of suspense, although these pieces demand some degree of critical listening: it's by no means background or mood music.

Throughout, the quartet seemingly integrates Beckett's manifold plots that continually unfold, complete with scenic environs, narrow alleyways, big city debacles and penetrating narratives, accentuating Fields' excitedly imaginative and largely incomparable methodologies.

Track Listing: Krapp's Last Tape; ... but the clouds ...; Catastrophe.

Personnel: Scott Fields: electric guitar, compositions; Matthias Schubert: tenor saxophone; Scott Roller: cello; Dominik Mahnig: percussion.

Title: Barclay | Year Released: 2019 | Record Label: Ayler Records

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