Improvisors work hard with responding to the needs of the moment, and a common danger is that this reacting in differentiated way for some reason ends up with an organic complexity in which improvisations resemble each other despite certain individualities, like trees in the wood. Can we also create overall structures encompassing really different landscapes – I mean, still as improvisors, without resorting to fixed arrangements? That would be an important virtue to strive for, and this trio seems to possess it. Sounds develop into relatively sustained structures that move and change for a long time while remaining themselves – the last 4 pieces do, in fact, appear exactly as “pieces” in this way. First track is a long one. It develops from pointillistic to conversating to something spun by longer “threads” – first aetherically light, then with interweaving moves of voices – to a rejoicing in high interferences eventually becoming clusters with fast interweawing movements finally becoming a sort of freejazz gymnastics. This last, rather predictable kind of sound is the only exception of its kind to all the other things happening.
Last but not least one more virtue must be mentioned: that of creating interesting and vivid interactions between live-electronics and instruments, a juxtaposition which so often produces debatable results. This record is an argument against those who think improvisation always sound the same.
PS Red Toucan is not always easy to find in Europe, but most titles are sold by vergemusic.com (please note that you need to do “advanced search” choosing “by label” and entering the label name).
Frank Gratkowski, clarinet, bass clarinet, alto sax
Chris Brown, piano and live electronics
William Winant, vibraphone and percussion
Recorded live at Mills College, Oakland, California, USA on March 23, 2007
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