422

John Butcher & Mark Sanders / Alex Ward & Roger Turner / John Tchicai & Tony Marsh: Treader Duos

John Eyles By

Sign in to view read count
These three contrasting reeds/drums duos are a fine record of the concert at which they were recorded, in February 2008 at St Giles-in-the-Fields church, London. Each of the three tracks lasts about twenty five minutes, long enough for the duos to give a good account of themselves. The three tracks give an opportunity to hear some fine improvisers as well as to compare their differing approaches to the combination of reeds and drums.

The album opens with John Butcher and Mark Sanders already sounding warmed-up and tuned into each other. Sanders lays down a delicate pattern of cymbals alongside which Butcher's tenor constructs a full-bodied, melodic solo. As the drums become more assertive, the sax replies in kind and the two match each other every step of the way. Throughout, there is ebb and flow between sax and drums with no leader or follower but the two combining to keep up a compelling forward momentum. With close listening, one can hear Butcher subtly shifting the quality of his horn by altering his embouchure or by use of his tongue, but such technical shifts are so well integrated into his whole performance that they largely pass unnoticed. Across the piece, the pair displays a well-judged sense of dynamics, bringing it to a suitably dramatic climax.

Next up is the very different combination of Alex Ward on clarinet and Roger Turner on drums. Both are seasoned improvisers, with Ward these days as comfortable on guitar as on clarinet. Here, as with his guitar playing, he sounds as if he has soaked up clarinet influences and integrated them into his own eclectic personal style. The pair begins with a flurry of activity that borders on hyperactive before settling into a more relaxed mood. Ward uses a range of extended techniques, including removing the mouthpiece and playing it alone. In typical fashion, Turner is a hive of activity, but the restraint of his playing belies the energy he invests in it. The end results are a model of good taste. A sample of this duo's interaction is shown in the clip below, recorded by Helen Petts at this actual concert.

By way of contrast, John Tchicai opens with some vocal ululations leading into a call and response between his voice and saxophone, the mellow sound of his tenor sax complementing the voice well. Tony Marsh's drumming provides understated support without stealing the spotlight from Tchicai. When Marsh is given his own space, he delivers a well-constructed solo. As a pairing, this duo gets closer to free jazz than either of the other two. Tchicai's introduction of bass clarinet in the finale provides a welcome contrast to sax and brings the album to a satisfying end.

Reed and drums duos are not common: beginning with John Coltrane & Rashied Ali's Interstellar Space, other notable combinations have come from Dewey Redman & Ed Blackwell, Jimmy Lyons & Andrew Cyrille, Evan Parker & John Stevens, Anthony Braxton & Max Roach, and Peter Brötzmann & Peeter Uuskyla. The three duos here are all worthy of a place on such an esteemed list.


Track Listing: Tooth Pivot; The Pews; We Dare To Sing.

Personnel: John Butcher: tenor and soprano saxophones; Mark Sanders: drums; Alex Ward: clarinet; Roger Turner: drums; John Tchicai: tenor saxophone, bass clarinet; Tony Marsh: drums.

Title: Treader Duos | Year Released: 2009 | Record Label: Treader


Tags

Related Video

comments powered by Disqus

More Articles

Read Déjà Vu CD/LP/Track Review Déjà Vu
by Troy Dostert
Published: September 20, 2017
Read Woody Guthrie - The Tribute Concerts CD/LP/Track Review Woody Guthrie - The Tribute Concerts
by Jakob Baekgaard
Published: September 20, 2017
Read Two in a Box CD/LP/Track Review Two in a Box
by Jack Bowers
Published: September 20, 2017
Read Discussions CD/LP/Track Review Discussions
by Glenn Astarita
Published: September 20, 2017
Read Just Friends: Live at the Village Vanguard CD/LP/Track Review Just Friends: Live at the Village Vanguard
by C. Michael Bailey
Published: September 19, 2017
Read Introducing the Simon Eskildsen Trio CD/LP/Track Review Introducing the Simon Eskildsen Trio
by Jakob Baekgaard
Published: September 19, 2017
Read "The Sky Remains" CD/LP/Track Review The Sky Remains
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: September 4, 2017
Read "Living Tribute" CD/LP/Track Review Living Tribute
by Jack Bowers
Published: May 27, 2017
Read "La Diversité" CD/LP/Track Review La Diversité
by Roger Farbey
Published: January 31, 2017
Read "Find the Way" CD/LP/Track Review Find the Way
by Karl Ackermann
Published: May 26, 2017
Read "Gol" CD/LP/Track Review Gol
by James Nadal
Published: July 28, 2017
Read "Live At The Troubadour 1969" CD/LP/Track Review Live At The Troubadour 1969
by Sacha O'Grady
Published: January 14, 2017

Join the staff. Writers Wanted!

Develop a column, write album reviews, cover live shows, or conduct interviews.