Learn How

We need your help in 2018

Support All About Jazz All About Jazz is looking for 1,000 backers to help fund our 2018 projects that directly support jazz. You can make this happen by purchasing ad space or by making a donation to our fund drive. In addition to completing every project (listed here), we'll also hide all Google ads and present exclusive content for a full year!

144

John Butcher/Phil Durrant/John Russell: The Scenic Route

Robert Spencer By

Sign in to view read count
Three improvisers with long resumes and magnificent virtuosity. Themeless improvised music that highlights the abilities of each musician to interact with his fellows and create a seamless whole of spontaneous composition. That is The Scenic Route by John Butcher, Phil Durrant, and John Russell.

The title may be derived from the unhurried nature of these 1998 performances, which bear the marks of mature craftsmanship. Although saxophonist Butcher is unafraid to employ multiphonic effects, and displays a post-Evan Parker familiarity with the uttermost reaches of his instruments' possibilities, this is not the flat-out screeching and wailing of the "free" music of cliché. Rather, this trio works in textures and moods, and works at stretching the possibilities of the instruments. All three players play percussively at various points: Butcher pops his pads (see especially "Buffet Balls"), Russell clangs his strings a la Derek Bailey, and Durrant streaks his bow into the cerulean stratosphere.

This is often music of surpassing beauty. Around ten minutes into "Heavy Merge" there is a characteristic passage: Butcher begins to play a tenor line of great delicacy which soon edges, abetted by Russell, into a percussive staccato attack. Finally there is a keening wail that could come from any of the three instrumentalists, and the dramatic transformation is whole. These three players are past masters at this sort of thing, and this music ebbs and flows in and out of a great variety of such moments as it takes its course along the scenic route.

Anyone who appreciates improvised music will find great treasures here.

Track listing: Heavy Merge / Belayed / Buffet Balls / Beyond Headlines / Climate Change.


Title: The Scenic Route | Year Released: 1999 | Record Label: Emanem


Tags

comments powered by Disqus

More Articles

Read Bad Hombre CD/LP/Track Review Bad Hombre
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: December 12, 2017
Read Aladdin's Dream CD/LP/Track Review Aladdin's Dream
by Ian Patterson
Published: December 12, 2017
Read Glow of Benares CD/LP/Track Review Glow of Benares
by Jakob Baekgaard
Published: December 12, 2017
Read Magic Circle CD/LP/Track Review Magic Circle
by Hrayr Attarian
Published: December 12, 2017
Read A Gathering Foretold CD/LP/Track Review A Gathering Foretold
by Geannine Reid
Published: December 12, 2017
Read Swinging In The Holidays CD/LP/Track Review Swinging In The Holidays
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: December 11, 2017
Read "The Chase" CD/LP/Track Review The Chase
by Roger Farbey
Published: October 16, 2017
Read "Happy Orchestra: Baba" CD/LP/Track Review Happy Orchestra: Baba
by Paul Rauch
Published: September 14, 2017
Read "Black Diamond" CD/LP/Track Review Black Diamond
by Joe Gatto
Published: March 7, 2017
Read "Reclamation" CD/LP/Track Review Reclamation
by Glenn Astarita
Published: November 18, 2017
Read "Syzygy" CD/LP/Track Review Syzygy
by Paul Rauch
Published: March 6, 2017
Read "Wanderlust" CD/LP/Track Review Wanderlust
by Bruce Lindsay
Published: April 23, 2017

Support All About Jazz's Future

We need your help and we have a deal. Contribute $20 and we'll hide the six Google ads that appear on every page for a full year!