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Seymour Wright / Eddie Prevost: Gamut

Nic Jones By

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On Gamut, Seymour Wright is credited with alto sax and Eddie Prevost's percussive credit is roto toms. When it comes down to it however, those credits are mere points of reference as this is music purged of conventional technique, as if the duo has undergone a process of rigorous self-denial in order to find out what emerges as a result of it. Furthermore the five track titles are merely the letters of the single word title, as if any other applications might have smacked too much of the worldly.

In a brief but illuminating liner note, Wright contemplates the inadequacy of the term "improvised" for this music even though the improvisatory process is integral to its very being. It's more than possible to hear what he's getting at in the course of this program. On something like "A" the music doesn't so much emerge from nothing as it playfully teases with silence, small and usually dead, percussive sounds coming forth to undermine that silence even while the two musicians seem engaged in a process of trying to reach an accommodation with it. When the music and indeed the volume increases this does not however seem like the product of logical evolution. This is music so purged of excess that any such development would be positively glib.

At the very beginning of "U," Wright comes as close as he ever does here to his instrument's extended vocabulary, but within a minute he's abandoned it, perhaps with the intention of reaching more rarefied, demanding ends. If indeed that was his intention, he succeeds admirably in it, while Prevost utilises a vocabulary of paradoxically dead yet resonating sounds in pursuit of some inscrutable end. Again silence seems to assume a role integral to the music itself, the detail of it and the music seeming to combine in dialectic opposition to the mundane soundscape of the world at large.

Given the instrumental deployment, it's hard to gauge where precisely the seemingly bowed sounds on "M" emerge from, but such wilful subversion, symbolic perhaps of a dogmatic insistence upon breaking with the familiar, is as much a part of the music as are other, less tangible signs of individuality. At the same time, and quite paradoxically, the negation of the individual in favor of some collective will by the duo is also an integral part of the deal.


Track Listing: G; A; M; U; T.

Personnel: Seymour Wright: alto sax; Eddie Prevost: roto toms.

Title: Gamut | Year Released: 2009 | Record Label: Matchless Recordings And Publishing

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