335

Iskra 1903: Chapter One 1970-1972

Robert Spencer By

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.

Title: Chapter One 1970-1972 | Year Released: 2000 | Record Label: Emanem


Tags

comments powered by Disqus

More Articles

Read Screen Sounds CD/LP/Track Review Screen Sounds
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: August 20, 2017
Read Rediscovered Ellington CD/LP/Track Review Rediscovered Ellington
by Troy Dostert
Published: August 20, 2017
Read The Bug CD/LP/Track Review The Bug
by Jack Bowers
Published: August 20, 2017
Read Sing Me Some Cry CD/LP/Track Review Sing Me Some Cry
by Mark Corroto
Published: August 20, 2017
Read Masters In Bordeaux CD/LP/Track Review Masters In Bordeaux
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: August 19, 2017
Read On Parade In Parede CD/LP/Track Review On Parade In Parede
by John Sharpe
Published: August 19, 2017
Read "Pletter På Solen" CD/LP/Track Review Pletter På Solen
by Nick Davies
Published: June 30, 2017
Read "Streams" CD/LP/Track Review Streams
by Geno Thackara
Published: September 17, 2016
Read "Jambú" CD/LP/Track Review Jambú
by Joe Gatto
Published: February 13, 2017
Read "Moments Captured" CD/LP/Track Review Moments Captured
by Andrew Luhn
Published: May 12, 2017
Read "Developing Story" CD/LP/Track Review Developing Story
by Edward Blanco
Published: June 26, 2017
Read "Media vita" CD/LP/Track Review Media vita
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: August 10, 2017

Sponsor: JANA PROJECT | LEARN MORE  

Support our sponsor

Join the staff. Writers Wanted!

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