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John Butcher/Xavier Charles/Axel Dorner: The Contest Of Pleasures

Mark Corroto By

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John Butcher/Xavier Charles/Axel Dorner: The Contest Of Pleasures The occasion of this live recording was a jazz festival in Hulhouse, at the southern end of Alsace. The musicians, Jon Butcher, Xavier Charles, and Axel Dorner came together in the Chapelle Saint-Jean on a hot August day in 2000, to create spontaneous music. What was captured was on overtly patient documentation of three improvisors working with a singular purpose.

Saxophonist John Butcher has shared the stage with the likes of Derek Bailey, Georg Grawe, Phil Minton, and Fred Van Hove, but for the most part his finest efforts are found in his solo work. Like Mats Gustafsson, his strength is in the explorations of new saxophone techniques and sound. Finding Butcher with the like minded Xavier Charles and Axel Dorner doesn’t distract but in fact enhances Butcher’s sonic explorations. Dorner’s trumpet sans electronics parallels Butcher’s pursuit for new terratories. You would swear his trumpet is filtered through an electronic processor has he sheds his horns brass tendancies. Dorner a member of the Alex von Schlippenbach’s Berlin Contemporary Jazz Orchestra has recorded with Fred Lomberg and Sven Ake Johnasson. Together with clarinetist Xavier Charles, Dorner and Butcher create waves of textures and elongated passages of sound.

The trio favors a kind of ambient surface to work against minimalistic improvisations. One of two artists paint a tone upon which the others react. Perhaps it is the situs of this recording (a church) or the weather (extremely hot) that bridles the philosophy of this session. It is only on the “Loganberry” that they venture into a bit of noise, raising the volume and intensity of interaction, with various clicks, whistles, and rattles from the players. But mostly this recording is about a comteplative interaction, a quiet freedom.


Title: The Contest Of Pleasures | Year Released: 2001 | Record Label: Challenge Jazz


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