All About Jazz

Home » Articles » CD/LP/Track Review

4

Fred Frith / Darren Johnston: Everybody's Somebody's Nobody

John Sharpe By

Sign in to view read count
Here's a West Coast entrant to the slim body of guitar/trumpet duets from iconoclastic strummer Fred Frith and trumpeter Darren Johnston. It collects 11 short cuts from two studio sessions into a three-quarter hour program. They're not averse to co-opting rhythms (Frith) or melodic figures (Johnston), meaning that what we have here can be termed the accessible avant-garde. Each jointly crafted extravaganza explores a different mood. They ring the changes both between numbers but also within them, especially in some of the longer pieces.

Both men succeed in keeping things interesting through unexpected decays and twists, well exemplified on the guitarist's unaccompanied "Rising Time." Frith deploys a multiplicity of textures and electronic effects, such that he blends chameleon-like with whatever the prevailing character dictates. Johnston matches the guitarist with a range of attacks. But the difference is that even in the most out there moments, lyric invention is never too far below the surface.

Improv meets ambient might be the headline, particularly in those tracks where Frith sets up a backdrop over which Johnston extemporizes. Prominent in this category are the folky "Barn Dance" where Johnston's slow refrain combines with Frith's bagpipe like drone to fashion a beautiful introduction to the disc, and the brief but animated "Scratch" where Johnston's forthright splutters float over Frith's lumbering percussive fretwork. The selection which gives the album its title constitutes another example. Frith sets up a ponderous lurch, like something from a Tom Waits' performance, while Johnston responds muted yet garrulous, producing a free funk creation.

But at times they indulge in more experimental and unfettered exchange. "Morning and The Shadow" is a case in point, where the trumpeter's swirling series of rising and falling arpeggios foreshadows a panoply of odd noises from Frith comprising rattles, growls, scrapes and tinkles, before they revisit the opening gambit. On the final "Standard Candles" a series of sustained tones shimmer and bloom, rounding out a thoroughly enjoyable meeting of open minds for those with open ears.

Track Listing: Barn Dance; Scribble; Luminescence; Everybody /s Somebody /s Nobody; Bounce; Morning and The Shadow; Down Time; Rising Time; Scratch; Ants; Standard Candles.

Personnel: Fred Frith: electric guitar; Darren Johnston: trumpet.

Title: Everybody's Somebody's Nobody | Year Released: 2016 | Record Label: Clean Feed Records

Tags

comments powered by Disqus

Related Articles

Read Postcard Collection CD/LP/Track Review
Postcard Collection
by Jack Bowers
Published: June 21, 2018
Read Der Dichter Spricht CD/LP/Track Review
Der Dichter Spricht
by Mike Jurkovic
Published: June 21, 2018
Read Dodecahedron CD/LP/Track Review
Dodecahedron
by Mark Corroto
Published: June 21, 2018
Read The Chopin Project CD/LP/Track Review
The Chopin Project
by Geno Thackara
Published: June 21, 2018
Read Walk The Walk CD/LP/Track Review
Walk The Walk
by Friedrich Kunzmann
Published: June 21, 2018
Read Grime Scene CD/LP/Track Review
Grime Scene
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: June 20, 2018
Read "Fill Up Your Lungs and Bellow" CD/LP/Track Review Fill Up Your Lungs and Bellow
by Tyran Grillo
Published: March 22, 2018
Read "The Four Seasons" CD/LP/Track Review The Four Seasons
by Roger Farbey
Published: November 16, 2017
Read "On Air" CD/LP/Track Review On Air
by Doug Collette
Published: December 3, 2017
Read "Witches Stew: A Tribute to Miles Davis" CD/LP/Track Review Witches Stew: A Tribute to Miles Davis
by Doug Collette
Published: October 15, 2017
Read "More Songs About Error And Shame" CD/LP/Track Review More Songs About Error And Shame
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: March 24, 2018
Read "Philip Glass – Piano Works" CD/LP/Track Review Philip Glass – Piano Works
by C. Michael Bailey
Published: January 5, 2018