When a quartet of established, improvising musicians arrives on stage, there can be some expectation in our minds as to what might ensue. But in the case of live-recorded No Boundaries – with the combined acquired knowledge, intuition and invention of drummer/percussionist Andrew Bain, trumpeter/flugelhornist Peter Evans, alto saxophonist John O'Gallagher and electronics master Alex Bonney – we are prompted to explore spheres perhaps outside of our experience.
The final part in a trilogy of differentiated projects conceived by Andrew Bain (following 2015's 'Player Piano' concert in tribute to the late John Taylor, and then his 2017 Whirlwind release of original material, Embodied Hope), this immersive, continuous sequence of free improvisation was captured at the intimate listening venue of the MAC (Midlands Arts Centre) in Birmingham. It evolved from a composition project I presented some time ago, explains Bain, Senior Lecturer in Jazz at Royal Birmingham Conservatoire. That set, entitled 'Frontiers' – with Gavin Bryars, Percy Pursglove, Hans Koller and myself – became the catalyst for this new work, which is in stark contrast to the more controlled basis of my previous outputs. I've known and worked with Peter since the early noughties in New York; and John and Alex were also a perfect fit. Crucially, I'm challenging the idiomatic instrumental make-up of the jazz ensemble where conventional boundaries and comparisons are usually already set.