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Statements Quintet: The Cat's Pyjamas

Robert Spencer By

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Power chords, albeit rather faint. Than a Derek Bailey-type fingering, gradually losing Bailey and picking up speed, while the power chords continue. Then a querulous violin and an aimlessly questing piano. Percussion not keeping time but punctuating the statements of the violin, piano, and guitar. "Three Forms," this first track, ultimately turns into a skittering and shifting affair. The percussionist dances with knitting needles (or is it the guitarist?) while a violinist bows maniacally and Ornetteishly, and the piano finds a place as a Taylorian percussionist, but more in a supporting role than Cecil.

This is intense and unclassifiable music. Pianist Ursel Schlicht does seem to owe a debt to Taylor, and of course, bassist Dominic Duval is a member of the great pianist's group, but in contrast to Taylor's music, there is a less immediately recognizable sense of form here. Also each of the voices is so capable of experimentation and mutation that it's often hard to tell which instrument is making which sound.

The tempos range from hardly present at all - amid tinklings and brief forays - to furious poundings. The textures are just as variable, with each instrumentalist coming to the fore, sometimes briefly, sometimes for longer periods, and all of them working well together. Mostly this is power free music somewhat akin to Taylor's, played with great ability and great abandon. An absorbing disc.


Title: The Cat's Pyjamas | Year Released: 1999 | Record Label: Leo Lab


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