Subject: I have found a CD that I think you would enjoy
It doesn't get more ambitious than this.
greg taylor | Portland, Oregon United States | 11/29/2003
(5 out of 5 stars)
"First some housekeeping. The CD has nothing to do with David Moss. This is a Barry Guy composition. He leads his London Jazz Composers' Orchestra in a performance of a piano concerto that was written for Irene Schweizer to celebrate her fiftieth birthday.
That said, I have to confess that this is the most intimidating review I have yet written for Amazon. The breath and scope of Barry Guy's musical abilities is difficult to explain. I suggest you go to the bottom of this page and read Saareman's list of suggested works featuring Mr. Guy. For me I will suffice to say that he is a leading performer of early music on period instruments (he owns several great baroque basses), of contemporary classical music and has been one of the leaders of the British free jazz scene for decades.
Ms Schweizer is equally accomplished. There is no part of the jazz piano tradition that she has not mastered. She seems to be familiar with the classical tradition as well. Perhaps she is just so in tune with her instrument that nothing piano is foreign to her.
And then there is the LJCO. Besides Ms. Schweizer on the piano the other musicians on this recording are Barry Guy and Barre Phillips on the doublebasses, Paul Lytton on the drums, Phil Wachsmann on the violin, Jon Corbett and Henry Lowther on trumpet and flugelhorn, Macr Charig on the cornet, Conrad Bauer, Radu Malfatti and Alan Tomlinson on glorious trombones, and Steve Wick on the tuba. On reeds we get to hear Trevor Watts, Evan Parker, Simon Picard, Peter McPhail and Paul Dunmall. Let's just say that all in all a good group of musicians.
The structure of this piece is also very intimidating to write about. Yea, it is a concerto for piano but this is not your daddy's Rachmaninoff concerto. The piano leads the orchestra in dialogue but various individuals and groups within the orchestra also emerge to take a lead in the conversation. Improvisation abounds- not just by Ms. Schweizer but by just about everybody in the orchestra.
Mr. Guy has split the piece into five subsections. This is only apparent to your CD player. You will not hear those particular transitions. What you will hear is Schweizer playing in a quartet with Dunmall, Phillips and Lytton while the orchestra supports and reins in the chaos. This leads to a section where Schweizer plays with Bauer and Lytton against the orchestra to a beautiful ballad section performed by Lowther on the flugelhorn to a trio with Schweizer, Lowther and Watts and so on for about fifty minutes.
There is brilliant playing by all (Schweizer just sounds great throughout), moments of wildness, of melodic release, of orchestral majesty, of swing band horn sections, of small group interplay, of just about every kind of musical pleasure imaginable. There is a vast territory to be explored in the area where improvisers push against the restraints of the written piece, where an orchestra or players juxtapose instant compositions against a worked through piece that is designed to keep them all in the same conversation. The LJCO lives and breathes in that territory. Their work is a vast ongoing experiment. For some listeners, it remains a constant revelation of the possibilities."