515

Travis & Fripp: Live at Coventry Cathedral

John Kelman By

Sign in to view read count
Travis & Fripp: Live at Coventry Cathedral Despite King Crimson being on permanent hiatus—at least officially, though momentum continues with its ongoing 40th Anniversary Series of newly remixed/remastered back catalog—its remaining co-founder, guitarist Robert Fripp, doesn't appear to be slowing down as he approaches 65. A hotly anticipated new recording teams the intrepid guitarist/soundscapist with guitarist Jakko M. Jakszyk and '70s Crimson alum/saxophonist/flautist Mel Collins; but with über-bassist Tony Levin and drummer Gavin Harrison also involved it's beginning to sound a lot like the next in Crimson's long series of reincarnations, though the jury is out as to whether or not it crosses the line in Fripp's mind that makes it actually Crimson. In the meantime, Live at Coventry Cathedral—culled from the last of four concerts in May, 2009—reunites Fripp and British saxophonist/flautist Theo Travis, who released the all-improvised and softly stated Thread (Panegryic) in 2008.

Fripp's innovations in the area of guitar-as-orchestra have, by now, become iconic. From linking two reel-to-reel tape recorders together to creating the primitive Frippertronics of the classic No Pussyfooting (DGM Live, 1973) to the more sonically expansive, sample/digital-based Soundscapes of Love Cannot Bear (DGM Live, 2005), Fripp's influence on multiple generations of guitarists has also turned into a touchstone for other instrumentalists. One being Travis, who has adapted Fripp's sonic investigations for his own Ambitronics, heard on the appropriately titled solo flute disc, Slow Life (Ether Sounds, 2009).

Coventry Cathedral expands the premise of Thread, as the duo creates layer upon layer of sound, sometimes so radically altered as to render indiscernible who is playing what. But it's impossible not to recognize Fripp's silky, sustaining tone on the opening "The Apparent Chaos of Stone," as he soars over Travis' combination of layered, flute loops and his own in-the-moment responses to the guitarist's various directional shifts. Gentle? Yes, but Coventry Cathedral also travels to darker and more foreboding places than Thread, especially on the more oblique "The Unquestioned Answer," where Fripp's warm, clean tone interacts with Travis' soprano sax to create a piece of music that, harmonically static though it may be, ebbs and flows from a whisper to greater expressionism.

But the biggest surprise comes 13 minutes into the second of the two sets that comprise Coventry Cathedral's 80 minutes: a pastoral rework of the delicate, ethereal and melancholy "Moonchild," from Crimson's landmark debut, In the Court of the Crimson King (DGM Live, 1969). As would be expected from this duo, however, song form is largely dispensed with and, instead, flute, guitar, and electronics mine the melody at the song's core, as Travis and Fripp improvise at a level far beyond Crimson's nascent capabilities four decades ago.

Ephemeral, ethereal, atmospheric at times; dark, brooding, and more decidedly grounded at others, Travis and Fripp's performance is all the more remarkable for the duo's only occasional work together. Combining clear simpatico with the inherent energy of surprise and unpredictability, Live at Coventry Garden represents an even more empathic meeting of the minds than this improvising duo's sublime debut.


Track Listing: The Apparent Chaos of Stone; Field of Green; The Unquestioned Answer ; Blue Calm; Duet for the End of Time; The Offering; Angels in the Roof; Moonchild; Lamentation.

Personnel: Theo Travis: saxophones, flutes, ambitronics; Robert Fripp: guitar, soundscapes.

Year Released: 2010 | Record Label: Panegyric Recordings | Style: Beyond Jazz


Related Video

Shop

More Articles

Read Road to Forever CD/LP/Track Review Road to Forever
by Jack Bowers
Published: February 27, 2017
Read Avenida Graham CD/LP/Track Review Avenida Graham
by Edward Blanco
Published: February 27, 2017
Read TAI Fest #1 (Vol.1&2) CD/LP/Track Review TAI Fest #1 (Vol.1&2)
by Nicola Negri
Published: February 27, 2017
Read Goat Man & The House of the Dead CD/LP/Track Review Goat Man & The House of the Dead
by Dave Wayne
Published: February 27, 2017
Read Backlog CD/LP/Track Review Backlog
by James Nadal
Published: February 27, 2017
Read Acceptance CD/LP/Track Review Acceptance
by Tyran Grillo
Published: February 26, 2017
Read "As If By Magic" CD/LP/Track Review As If By Magic
by Bruce Lindsay
Published: December 3, 2016
Read "A Cry For Peace" CD/LP/Track Review A Cry For Peace
by Geannine Reid
Published: October 24, 2016
Read "Sunday Night At The Vanguard" CD/LP/Track Review Sunday Night At The Vanguard
by Mark Corroto
Published: July 18, 2016
Read "Rehab Reunion" CD/LP/Track Review Rehab Reunion
by Geno Thackara
Published: June 11, 2016
Read "Secular Hymns" CD/LP/Track Review Secular Hymns
by John Eyles
Published: September 10, 2016
Read "True North" CD/LP/Track Review True North
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: March 10, 2016

Post a comment

comments powered by Disqus

Sponsor: Jazz Near You | GET IT  

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!