All About Jazz needs your help and we have a deal. Contribute $20 (or more) and we'll hide those six pesky Google ads that appear on every page for a full year! You'll also fund website expansion.


I want to help

335

Iskra 1903: Chapter One 1970-1972

Robert Spencer By
Published:
Sign in to view read count
Iskra 1903: Chapter One 1970-1972 Iskra 1903, named after a newspaper founded by Lenin, has had several incarnations. This one, as befits a disc entitled Chapter One, was the first: Paul Rutherford (trombone and piano), Derek Bailey (guitar), and Barry Guy (double bass). The first revelation is that Rutherford plays piano, and that he's a worthwhile improviser on that instrument. The second is that this music, for all its uncompromisingly unpremeditated and atonal character, contains a great deal that beguiles and fascinates.

This massive 3-disc set contains music from a September 2, 1970 concert, a May 3, 1972 recording session, a 1971 session, and three fall 1972 German tour dates. The first disc, containing the 1970 concert, features Rutherford on piano on three tracks only. He is a spacy, searching pianist—in his laconic use of space, he's rather like a Herbie Hancock of free playing. Perhaps because of the nature of the instrument, the piano tends to anchor the music and suggest, at times rather insistently, tonalities that Bailey nonetheless effortlessly avoids—especially in moments on the lengthy "Improvisation 1." When Rutherford switches to trombone, which he plays for the bulk of disc one and for all of discs two and three, he coils lines around Bailey's, sometimes accenting and extending, sometimes cutting off. Guy is his usual percussive self. There is, of course, no narrative flow as such to this music; rather, it progresses by the creation of evanescent soundscapes that vanish almost as quickly as they appear. Many are fascinating, especially on disc two, which is the one to which I found myself returning most often. But to isolate them is to try to catch a snowflake and frame it.

So it is with all of Derek Bailey's music—as well as that of the other two. Certainly Rutherford brings a certain dash to these sessions, whereas some of the guitarist's other partners let matters slip into the cagiest of murmurings. Thus these three discs may be good entry points for those who want to hear what Derek Bailey can do as an improviser, and how he interacts with other masterful free musicians. In any case, this is a superabundance of gripping music that amply rewards close listening.

Personnel: Paul Rutherford: trombone; piano; Derek Bailey: guitar; Barry Guy: bass.

| Record Label: Emanem | Style: Modern Jazz


Shop For Jazz

CD/LP/Track Review
Read more articles
South on the Northern
South on the Northern
Emanem
2014
buy
[no cover]
South On The Northern
Dragon Records
2013
buy
Goldsmiths
Goldsmiths
Emanem
2012
buy
Goldsmiths
Goldsmiths
Emanem
2011
buy
[no cover]
Chapter Two 1981-3
Dragon Records
2006
buy
Chapter Two: 1981-3
Chapter Two: 1981-3
Emanem
2006
buy
Cecil Taylor Cecil Taylor
piano
Albert Ayler Albert Ayler
sax, tenor
Evan Parker Evan Parker
sax, tenor
Roswell Rudd Roswell Rudd
trombone
Derek Bailey Derek Bailey
guitar
Art Ensemble Of Chicago Art Ensemble Of Chicago
band/orchestra
John Butcher John Butcher
saxophone

More Articles

Post a comment

comments powered by Disqus

Join the staff. Writers Wanted!

Develop a column, write album reviews, cover live shows, or conduct interviews.