285

Phil Minton Quartet: Slur

Nic Jones By

Sign in to view read count
Phil Minton Quartet: Slur Phil Minton is virtually alone in blazing a trail for the male vocalist in freely improvised music and this is one of his very infrequent outings as a group leader. In his notes for the accompanying booklet he refers to having toyed with the idea of singing words on this disc. The fact that he could apparently see no point in doing so might just be the thing that makes this music so successful, as the intrusion of words might only have rendered earthbound music that occupies a far more nebulous, more intriguing place.

The subversion of the setting of vocalist with accompanying trio is also greatly significant, and to hear the likes of "A Bit More is to hear the work of a vocalist more attuned to the idea of being a part of a greater musical whole rather than one egotistical enough to command centre-stage. All the members of the quartet confirm here just how conversant and fluent they are in the language of free play, and the dynamics produced accordingly are nothing if not unique.

Anyone who welcomes the downright unexpected is similarly in for a treat on "Lower Down, where saxophonist John Butcher offers up ample evidence of just how much ground he's covered in his journey of sonic exploration and Roger Turner teases out the possibilities when a percussionist uses an augmented range of materials. The results are both evidence of an integrated group whole and, on a level equally fundamental, a meeting of minds.

"Far Off finds Minton coming as close as he ever does to verbal communication, but even here it's only in the form of single syllables, half-formed words or perhaps the sounds of some impromptu language he invented in the moment. With pianist Veryan Weston's contribution the devil would seem to be in the detail, not least because of the skill with which he teases out lines and sounds, sparing in the application of both where he could have been bombastic.

"Back is an exercise in contrast with much of the music on offer here, as it has about it an air of almost claustrophobic brooding. Minton explores his lower register and again the others prove just how skilled they are in an avoidance of the obvious that's far from studied. They produce small filigrees of sound and Minton, in the setting this evokes, again hints at known language at around the four-minute mark; his avoidance of it is more than welcome

It's probably no kind of aid at all to highlight just how far removed from the tried and trusted this music is. This does not however alter the fact that the practitioners of it have to be every bit as skilled in what they do as musicians working in any other field. This quartet is made up of four such practitioners, and their efforts result in music that's meat and drink for the adventurously minded.


Track Listing: Almost There; Lower Down; Higher; A Bit More; Far Off; Closer; Back; Length.

Personnel: Phil Minton: voice; John Butcher: soprano and tenor saxophones; Veryan Weston: piano; Roger Turner: percussion.

Title: Slur | Year Released: 2007 | Record Label: Emanem


Tags

comments powered by Disqus

More Articles

Read Ballet: The Music Of Michael Gibbs CD/LP/Track Review Ballet: The Music Of Michael Gibbs
by C. Michael Bailey
Published: July 23, 2017
Read Float The Edge CD/LP/Track Review Float The Edge
by John Sharpe
Published: July 23, 2017
Read Resonance CD/LP/Track Review Resonance
by Karl Ackermann
Published: July 23, 2017
Read Black Focus CD/LP/Track Review Black Focus
by Rokas Kucinskas
Published: July 23, 2017
Read Birdhoused CD/LP/Track Review Birdhoused
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: July 22, 2017
Read "Convergence" CD/LP/Track Review Convergence
by Mark F. Turner
Published: August 20, 2016
Read "Two Hands, One Heart" CD/LP/Track Review Two Hands, One Heart
by Roger Farbey
Published: February 8, 2017
Read "Vol. 02" CD/LP/Track Review Vol. 02
by Dave Wayne
Published: November 21, 2016
Read "Proximity" CD/LP/Track Review Proximity
by Budd Kopman
Published: November 7, 2016
Read "Getting All The Evil Of The Piston Collar!" CD/LP/Track Review Getting All The Evil Of The Piston Collar!
by Budd Kopman
Published: October 3, 2016
Read "Double Down" CD/LP/Track Review Double Down
by James Nadal
Published: June 10, 2017

Support All About Jazz: MAKE A PURCHASE  

Support our sponsor

Upgrade Today!

Musician? Boost your visibility at All About Jazz and drive traffic to your website with our Premium Profile service.

Donate!