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This 1998 live date is a superb example of the possibilities of free improvisation by a trio. This music of striking melodic depth, and is by no means simply a piano performance with a supporting cast. As is often ballyhooed but less often delivered in free music, these players are equal, and each contributes a tremendous amount to the music.
Many of Veryan Weston's phrases are breath length, suggesting an influence from the saxophone. His lines are seldom dissonant although he moves freely among tonal centers; for all the percussive edge they can muster, they never lose a strong and glasslike beauty. This beauty is much augmented by the incredible tensile strength of John Edwards' bass, which can move from a percussive Barry Guy-ish attack to the most delicate of singing, ringing, glowing lines - and back again. Along the long trip of "Longer Piece" he bows behind the most delicate of Weston lines with a rare animation. The sheer power of his playing around the middle of "Longer Piece" is enough to stand hair on end and get the blood flowing again. Percussionist Mark Sanders, meanwhile, is just as powerful, but his wallop lacks not for dynamic variation and subtlety of placement.
These three pieces, ranging from almost eleven ("Shorter Piece") to almost thirty-six minutes ("Longer Piece") are exercises in variety, as each contain tremendous dynamic, rhythmic, and textural variations. Anyone who thinks free improvisation is just an excuse for banging and screaming should sample the infinite and ineffable landscapes of this disc.
I love jazz because anything is possible; it has few rules and the best jazz breaks those ones. I prefer free improv because it doesn't really have any rules at all.
I was first exposed to jazz in my teens (in the late sixties).
The first jazz record I bought was Filles de Kilimanjaro by Miles Davis, shortly followed by Extrapolation by John McLaughlin.
My advice to new listeners is to listen as widely as possible and not to make snap judgments--stick with it.