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Bassist, composer and British Free-Jazz icon, Barry Guy along with the much celebrated “London Jazz Composers Orchestra” represent a who’s who of the European avant-garde jazz scene. On Double Trouble Two, Guy enlists American pianist Marilyn Crispell along with Swiss drummer Pierre Favre and compatriot, pianist Irene Schweizer. Taken or approached as a whole, Double Trouble Two is a musical narrative or epic represented through 5 parts. “Part I” commences with pianist’s Schweizer and Crispell alternating and converging through a series of manic and furiously rapid flurries of passages which evoke a sense of urgency or perhaps danger? The huge and quite boisterous horn section compliment the pianist’s seemingly boundless creative sparks yet facilitate the proceedings into “Part II” where for a brief period the tempestuous waters become calm. The orchestra are the voices of reason as they assess or take stock of the matters at hand. It is quite apparent and to be expected that LJCO represent an aggregate of musicians who more or less have mastered the art of conversation or dialogue through music. In “Part II”, the finale becomes stoic through a loosely based militaristic snare drum beat as if the band were marching onward with a rejuvenated and triumphant sense of spirit. “Part III” evolves through more blazing piano choruses from Schweizer and Crispell as if the music or “story” is back to square one, which in essence would be “Part I”. Perhaps there is mutiny or looming dissension in the ranks? Well-organized dissonance and crafty thematic pronouncements emanate from this star studded horn section. On “Part IV” pathos and playful drumming/percussion provide a backdrop for the individual soloist’s who state their cases as the horns respond or retort via gallant yet brazen choruses. Shifting moods represent resolution to this story through the authoritative sound of the trombone as “Part V” closes this project, projecting an inquisitive tone as if this story has not seen closure.
Music of this ilk provides a workout for one’s imagination as the interpretations are bound to be diverse or perhaps subjected to ongoing debates or food for thought. That’s where the magic lies. Double Trouble Two is an unfolding drama which gives purpose and reason to this thing we call “free” or avant-garde jazz”.... * * * * 1/2
Barry Guy; Bass/Director: Henry Lowther; Trumpet: Marc Charig; Cornet: Jon Corbett; Trumpet: Paul Rutherford; Trombone: Alan Tomlinson; Trombone: Chris Bridges; Trombone: Robin Hayward; Tuba: Trevor Watts; Reeds: Evan Parker; Reeds: Simon Picard; Reeds: Peter McPhail; Reeds: Paul Dunmall; Reeds: Phil Wachsmann; Violin: Irene Schweizer; Piano: Marilyn Crispell; Piano: Barre Phillips; Bass: Pierre Favre; Drums: Paul Lytton; Drums