Saxophonist, John Butcher and his British compatriot, violinist, Phil Durrant have performed together on numerous occasions, most notably for the “EMANEM” improvising label. Intentions marks the first trio outing, featuring the duo performing alongside Canadian cellist, Peggy Lee. And based upon the musicians’ respective pasts, the flavor of this production might satisfy many of our expectations. On this session, the trio explores contrapuntal statements amid delayed synchronizations while probing the inherent physical forces of their instruments. Throughout many of these works, Butcher’s now familiar note popping techniques and employment of multiphonics provide the strings section with a pliant framework.
The trio sounds like a chamber unit forsaking its sheet music in favor of treading upon newfound territory during the piece titled, “Timeball.” They excel when engaging in call and response type dialogue via a continuous range of rotational angles and polytonal voicings. At times, Ms. Lee or Durrant unassumingly simulate a creaky passageway or weave in and out of Butcher’s abstract musings. Counterbalancing tonalities mark “Chinese Burn,” whereas, the band seemingly traverses through a haunted house on “Gleaming Silks.”
Given the nature of imaginative collective improvisation, music of this ilk can seldom if ever be repeated or duplicated. However, interpretations of the music are most assuredly open-ended, as the artists’ split tones, extended notes and microtonal schemas represent just a portion of this most intriguing production. Recommended.
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