On UK’s Musique Machine RUBICON QUARTET’s ‘Crosscurrents’ album made their top 30 list of best albums of 2020 while ALAN WILKINSON & ANDREW CHEETHAM’s ‘The Vortex Of Past Time’ receives a beautiful review by the great Ken Waxman at Jazzword (Canada).
“Unabashed Free Jazz with wailing saxophone split tones and authoritative percussion punches has been part of the vocabulary since the mid-1960s and is now an accepted form like. Bebop, Fusion or Dixieland. Yet the emotional mojo needed to create exceptional sounds aren’t reached by all sessions. However this British duo raises the ante. Veteran reeds player Alan Wilkinson is known for his discs with Simon H. Fell and Paul Hession, while three-decades-younger percussionist Andrew Cheetham has worked with David Birchall.
From the very beginning of “Axial Velocity “ stentorian slurps are sourced from below his baritone saxophone’s s-curve by Wilkinson, spilling out a cornucopia of split tones as Cheetham’s cymbal clashes and pressurized patterning add to the exposition’s intensity. Until the end of the session after that, the saxophonist moves back and forth among circular-breathed repetitions, vocalized shouts, extended glossolalia and altissimo projections, Making a virtue of minimalism, Cheetham’s strategy includes bell ringing, steel-drum-like echoes metallic rim shots and accented press rolls. While much of the sounds move in this vigorous fashion, a patina of melody exists beneath the surface. It’s expressed most succinctly on the concluding “Outer Radius”, which ends with accelerating bugle-like rasps following a sequence of high-pitched squeals vibrating from inside the bass clarinet’s body tube are met by subtle cymbal slaps and drum-top clip clops. Otherwise full-throttle expression is paramount, with reeds lowing slurs or squawking snorts, ripping apart the narrative or briefly sinking to barely-there smears. With drum rumbles as deep and echoing as Wilkinson’s solos are, jagged excess is kept in check and making the overall performance compelling.”