Dear All About Jazz Readers,

If you're familiar with All About Jazz, you know that we've dedicated over two decades to supporting jazz as an art form, and more importantly, the creative musicians who make it. Our enduring commitment has made All About Jazz one of the most culturally important websites of its kind in the world reaching hundreds of thousands of readers every month. However, to expand our offerings and develop new means to foster jazz discovery we need your help.

You can become a sustaining member for a modest $20 and in return, we'll immediately hide those pesky Google ads PLUS deliver exclusive content and provide access to future articles for a full year! This combination will not only improve your AAJ experience, it will allow us to continue to rigorously build on the great work we first started in 1995. Read on to view our project ideas...

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

Shop Music & Tickets

Click any of the store links below and you'll support All About Jazz in the process. Learn how.

Building a Jazz Library
CD/LP/Track Review
Multiple Reviews
Catching Up With
CD/LP/Track Review
  • Exta by John Eyles
Extended Analysis
CD/LP/Track Review
Multiple Reviews
CD/LP/Track Review
Live Reviews
CD/LP/Track Review
Read more articles
Into Darkness

Into Darkness

Iluso Records
2018

buy
So Beautiful, It Starts to Rain

So Beautiful, It...

Clean Feed Records
2017

buy
Last Dream at the Morning

Last Dream at the...

Relative Pitch Records
2017

buy
Tangle

Tangle

Fataka
2016

buy
So Beautiful, It Starts To Rain

So Beautiful, It...

Clean Feed Records
2016

buy
 

Plume

Challenge Jazz
2013

buy

Related Articles

Read Without You CD/LP/Track Review
Without You
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: December 19, 2018
Read Internal Combustion CD/LP/Track Review
Internal Combustion
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: December 19, 2018
Read Chant Triptych II CD/LP/Track Review
Chant Triptych II
by Mark Sullivan
Published: December 19, 2018
Read Oasis CD/LP/Track Review
Oasis
by Mike Jurkovic
Published: December 19, 2018
Read Les Oiseaux de Matisse CD/LP/Track Review
Les Oiseaux de Matisse
by Glenn Astarita
Published: December 19, 2018
Read Drum Solos For Dancers Only CD/LP/Track Review
Drum Solos For Dancers Only
by David A. Orthmann
Published: December 18, 2018
Read "Drum Solos For Dancers Only" CD/LP/Track Review Drum Solos For Dancers Only
by David A. Orthmann
Published: December 18, 2018
Read "Your Queen Is A Reptile" CD/LP/Track Review Your Queen Is A Reptile
by Chris May
Published: February 21, 2018
Read "Solo" CD/LP/Track Review Solo
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: January 13, 2018
Read "An American Treasure" CD/LP/Track Review An American Treasure
by Doug Collette
Published: October 27, 2018
Read "Cuarteto Europa" CD/LP/Track Review Cuarteto Europa
by Mark Sullivan
Published: December 15, 2018
Read "Moods" CD/LP/Track Review Moods
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: September 1, 2018