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Jazz Articles


Barry Guy: The Blue Shroud

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In some ways, The Blue Shroud might be Barry Guy's signature work. It's the first to unite his varied interests in Baroque music, composition, jazz and improv at an orchestral scale. To do so Guy assembles a 14-strong crack unit capable of interpreting each aspect to the highest level, including several early music specialists who are also able to extemporize. And Guy's topic is worthy of such endeavor. He takes as his inspiration three interlinked themes, the ...


Barry Guy / Ken Vandermark: Occasional Poems

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For British bassist Barry Guy the concert that produced this fine double disc package occurred at the end of a four day intensive residency in Krakow culminating in the premier of an ambitious new work by his Blue Shroud Band. While for Chicago reedman Ken Vandermark, the event was the final episode in two months on the road. But whether relief or exhaustion were the dominant feelings, neither resulted in any lowering of standards or resting on laurels. Occasional Poems ...


Barry Guy: Back to the Drawing-Board (Part 3)

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Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3 One of the things which may strike the listener on hearing the London Jazz Composers' Orchestra for the first time is just how much volume Guy is able to draw from just seventeen to twenty players. Some other big bands sound almost insipid in comparison. There is something about the way the composer is able to harness the power of his individual musicians and magnify it to something of symphonic ...


Barry Guy: A Prophet is Not without Honour (Part 2)

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Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3 Barry Guy has been the artistic director and main composer of the London Jazz Composers' Orchestra throughout its now forty-five year history. Recordings and performances since Ode in 1972 have been sporadic but those forty-five years have resulted in eleven albums (including one with Anthony Braxton) and one DVD. In that time, the longest gaps in releases have been between Ode and Stringer (1972-1983) and between Double Trouble Two and ...


Barry Guy: Ploughs into Swordshares (Part 1)

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Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3 Edgar Varèse's defiant statement in the face of public and critical indifference -"The present day composer refuses to die"--could so easily apply to composer-bassist Barry Guy. He has earned over the years a deep and lasting respect from certain fans and critics, though more so in North America and Europe than in the country of his birth. Nevertheless, the struggles of the creative artist in a world where culture is ...


Barry Guy: Five Fizzles for Samuel Beckett

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Not to be confused with Fizzles (Maya, 1993), which contains the first documented version of the titular work along with other pieces for solo bass, Five Fizzles for Samuel Beckett is a 14 minute limited edition EP which does what it says on the tin. Virtuoso British bassist Barry Guy has long drawn inspiration from other art forms, especially writings and visual works. Beckett wrote eight texts between 1960 and 1976, seven written in French (under the title Foirades which ...


Barry Guy Blue Shroud Band in Krakow, Poland

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Barry Guy Blue Shroud Band Alchemia Krakow, Poland November 18-22, 2014 Chapter Index The Blue Shroud Krakow Jazz Autumn Small Group Formations Day One Day Two Day Three Polish Musicians Post Script The Blue Shroud From the first notes the audience was spell bound. You could hear the proverbial pin ...


Agustí Fernández/Barry Guy/Ramón López: A Moment's Liberty

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The term “elegance," is rarely utilized when referring to a jazz recording. In fact, “elegant jass"might be an oxymoronic term. Sure, The Modern Jazz Quartet always performed in formal wear, and Duke Ellington evoked gracefulness in response to his advertised “jungle music," but jazz has always bumped up against the high brow ceiling of more orthodox music. Enter the Aurora Trio of pianist Agustí Fernández, bassist Barry Guy and drummer Ramón López. Their music (lets call it poetry) ...

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