147

Spontaneous Music Ensemble: Frameworks

Nic Jones By

Sign in to view read count
Spontaneous Music Ensemble: Frameworks All of the freely improvised music collected here is previously unissued and, to the best of my knowledge, only the duo of percussionist John Stevens and reed player Trevor Watts has been extensively documented on record before now, notably on Face To Face (Emanem, 1973). The duo is featured on "Flower here. The piece was recorded in the same period as the music on Face to Face and it's in the same austere and minimal vein.

The thirty minutes plus of "Familie Sequence is, however, another matter entirely. Part of its duration is an example of the "Sustained Piece a nominal method devised by Stevens to give musicians a feel for free playing. The voice and instruments, with the exception of Stevens, are deployed in a manner that gives rise to a meditative air, permeated however by an underlying sense of unease. In particular singer Norma Winstone offers an intimation of just how compelling she can be in a setting in which she has recorded far too infrequently, and Kenny Wheeler on flugelhorn proves just how broad his scope has been over the course of his career.

Speaking generally, the result is music for which precedents at the time were few. Of those, perhaps, the early work of reedman Roscoe Mitchell is more than a tenuous point of reference, although the respective uses of space and near silence are of quite different orders, as is the absence here of Mitchell's formalism.

The influence of Albert Ayler is felt on "Quartet Sequence, and not just in terms of how pronounced it is. Watts on soprano sax deploys a measure of vibrato that has otherwise been anything but emblematic of his work on the straight horn. Ron Herman's bass playing is nothing short of extraordinary, its combination of seemingly hyperactivity balanced by a concurrent sharpness of response to the group's demands, one of which is Julie Tippett's voice. Her work is that of a woman who, at the time, had resolutely turned her back on stardom—she had a hit with keyboardist Brian Auger on a version of Bob Dylan's "This Wheel's On Fire less than five years before making this music---in favor of something more fulfilling.

Perhaps as much a piece of social history as anything else, this music comes at us as evidence of just how much ground was covered in that fertile decade and a half between 1965 and 1980. As such, one of its lasting impressions is that of music made so far in the moment as to be eternally compelling.


Track Listing: Familie Sequence; Quartet Sequence; Flower.

Personnel: John Stevens: percussion, voice (2); Trevor Watts: bass clarinet (1), soprano saxophone (3); Norma Winstone: voice (1); Kenny Wheeler: flugelhorn (1); Paul Rutherford: trombone (1); Julie Tippetts: voice (2); Ron Herman: double bass (2).

Year Released: 2007 | Record Label: Emanem | Style: Modern Jazz


Shop

More Articles

Read The Angel and the Brute Sing Songs of Rapture CD/LP/Track Review The Angel and the Brute Sing Songs of Rapture
by Karl Ackermann
Published: February 25, 2017
Read Coldest Second Yesterday CD/LP/Track Review Coldest Second Yesterday
by John Sharpe
Published: February 25, 2017
Read Follow Your Heart CD/LP/Track Review Follow Your Heart
by Mark Corroto
Published: February 25, 2017
Read The Sound of Surprise: Live at the Side Door CD/LP/Track Review The Sound of Surprise: Live at the Side Door
by Edward Blanco
Published: February 25, 2017
Read Chicago II CD/LP/Track Review Chicago II
by Doug Collette
Published: February 25, 2017
Read Over the Rainbow CD/LP/Track Review Over the Rainbow
by Paul Rauch
Published: February 24, 2017
Read "Portraits and Places" CD/LP/Track Review Portraits and Places
by Jack Bowers
Published: March 31, 2016
Read "Plays The Music Of Alvin P. Buckley" CD/LP/Track Review Plays The Music Of Alvin P. Buckley
by Mark Corroto
Published: May 16, 2016
Read "Nearly Extinct" CD/LP/Track Review Nearly Extinct
by Mark Corroto
Published: March 17, 2016
Read "As subtle as tomorrow" CD/LP/Track Review As subtle as tomorrow
by Glenn Astarita
Published: April 9, 2016
Read "Four Plus Three" CD/LP/Track Review Four Plus Three
by Bruce Lindsay
Published: June 5, 2016
Read "In Concert" CD/LP/Track Review In Concert
by Mark Sullivan
Published: April 6, 2016

Post a comment

comments powered by Disqus

Sponsor: ECM Records | BUY NOW  

Support our sponsor

Support All About Jazz's Future

We need your help and we have a deal. Contribute $20 and we'll hide the six Google ads that appear on every page for a full year!

Buy it!