Pisa 1980 Improvisors Symposium

By Improvisors Symposium

Album: Pisa 1980 Improvisors Symposium -- Paul Lytton




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“This 1981 recording collects tapes from the Evan Parker-directed Improvisors’ (sic) Symposium at the international jazz festival held in Pisa, Italy, in 1980. Side one is made up of duets. There are two wind duets and one for strings. The first wind duet is a series of elongated tones that becomes circular motions and striated microtonal meditations between Evan Parker on soprano saxophone and George Lewis on trombone. The first is a slow, almost imperceptibly evolving piece of exchanged lines and intersected tonal integration. The second is a circular, oddly angled work in which the two performers create arpeggiated spaces of microphonic textures and then exchange them no less than three times in nine minutes, adding to the expansion of the circle. The string duet between bassist Maarten Altena and guitarist Derek Bailey is a remarkably focused quest for fire in which strings are regarded purely and practically as surfaces first and elements for musical improvisation second. Two quintet pieces make up the second side, and the piece performed by an ensemble with two bassists (Altena and Barry Guy) and three trombonists (Lewis, Paul Rutherford, and Giancarlo Schiaffini) works best. Deeper tonal studies that involve almost ritualistic triangulation and counterpoint are very rare in improvisers’ groups these days. The counterpoint shifts here are arbitrary (they can consist of two basses, two trombones, a bass and a trombone, etc.), with the microtonal invention that contains a triad being equally random and ever-changing. For nearly 12 minutes, the piece is a breathtaking end to a very satisfying collection.” -Thom Jurek, All Music

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