Guitarist Marc Ducret returns with his second volume of Tower (Ayler 119), a musical commentary on Vladimir Nabokov's novel Ada. I reviewed the first volume on my Gapplegate Guitar and Bass Site (www. gapplegateguitar.blogspot.com) several months ago. I review volume two here to ensure that the news of this project reaches the bulk of my readers.
This time out, Marc's well conceived guitar abstractions are joined by the alto of Tim Berne, the violin of Dominique Pifarely, and the drums of Tom Rainey. The music has a fair amount of through-composed passages and free interplay as well. The overall level of abstraction is a bit more present this time out. All four work extremely well together, with sax and violin affording dynamic-stylistic contrast, the drums often joining the front line as a voice with melodic implications not always heard from that instrument, and Ducret's guitar forming a part of the ensemble in the articulation of composed lines at times, and breaking off with independent chordal and textural elements at others. There are also some marvelous four-way collective improvisations to be experienced.
This is ambitious composed music that transcends category. It has modern concert elements, free-sounding elements and elements that fall somewhere in between.
Ducret's guitar work is highly original and very expressive here, though there is not as much of it in a solo context as one might expect. All come up with marvelous performances that turn what might have had an air of arid abstraction into a fully living, breathing vibrancy.