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.

Personnel:

John Butcher, ss, ts; Phil Durrant, vln; John Russell, g.

| Record Label: Emanem | Style: Modern Jazz


Shop

More Articles

Read Acceptance CD/LP/Track Review Acceptance
by Tyran Grillo
Published: February 26, 2017
Read The Wild CD/LP/Track Review The Wild
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: February 26, 2017
Read This Is Nate Najar CD/LP/Track Review This Is Nate Najar
by Edward Blanco
Published: February 26, 2017
Read Joy Comes Back CD/LP/Track Review Joy Comes Back
by James Nadal
Published: February 26, 2017
Read Apocalypse CD/LP/Track Review Apocalypse
by Julian Derry
Published: February 26, 2017
Read The Sound of Surprise: Live at the Side Door CD/LP/Track Review The Sound of Surprise: Live at the Side Door
by Edward Blanco
Published: February 25, 2017
Read "On Ceremony" CD/LP/Track Review On Ceremony
by Karl Ackermann
Published: July 17, 2016
Read "Groovin'" CD/LP/Track Review Groovin'
by Jeff Winbush
Published: November 2, 2016
Read "Reciprocity" CD/LP/Track Review Reciprocity
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: August 15, 2016
Read "Natural" CD/LP/Track Review Natural
by Chris M. Slawecki
Published: May 7, 2016
Read "Lovers" CD/LP/Track Review Lovers
by Jerome Wilson
Published: September 20, 2016
Read "Paris" CD/LP/Track Review Paris
by Duncan Heining
Published: November 23, 2016

Post a comment

comments powered by Disqus

Sponsor: Jazz Near You | GET IT  

Support our sponsor

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!

Buy it!