KFJC 89.7FM

Butcher, John / Buck, Tony / Mayas, Magda / Stangl, Burkhard – “Plume” – [Unsounds]

Thurston Hunger   4/26/2013   CD, Jazz


Two live sets with a dynamic duo of John Butcher (saxes)
and the outstanding percussionist Tony Buck joined by
a different third improvisor on each. “Fiamme” features
Burkhard Stangl on brittle guitar; his angular twists and
harmonic taps start things off. Butcher valve fluttering
and doing more subtle sputtering, some shuffly percussion
until about 4:30 in when Butcher starts to hit the squeakier
tea kettle piercers. Some nearly flamenco strums come
and Butcher works into uproar mode by 6+ minutes…what
ensues is sort of a relay race between those few fiery
escapades and more gentle, but still vivid free work. Around
12 min, the band sounds like a harmonium impostor verging
on some kind of lab alarm. Some moments like 17-20 min are
tough in the car, but heaven in the headphones. Microsounds
too much to review on a sticker that fits on the CD. Buck
topples some metal, and makes cymbals rain. He’s amazing.
And that’s the shorter piece! “Vellum” rolls Magda Maya’s
piano into the fray, prepared under the hood goodies vs
the bird calls of Butcher. Buck tries building a cage
around them, but a city then an ocean (Mayas’ piano at
the bottom) and then a world keep growing. By 14+ mins we
are reminded that all three are percussive, but again a
quiet cycle slips in. I often feel that improv is more
playful and humorous than my ears can tell, but this sprawler
covers some downright spooky territory in its construction,
(see 32-34min) before the pulsating waves of more jointed
jazz close it. More dark and furious than the first.

-Thurston Hunger

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