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DANIEL THOMPSON & COLIN WEBSTER : BOSKAGE
cd

I
II
III

Daniel Thomson : acoustic guitar
Colin Webster : alto saxophone

Recorded on 15th June 2018 at Soundsavers, London by Mark Jasper
Mixed by Dirk Serries.  Mastered at the Sunny Side Inc. studio, Anderlecht (Belgium).
Sleeve notes : Guy Peters.  Layout : Rutger Zuydervelt

“Having established himself as part of London’s newer generation of London improvisers, alto saxophonist Colin Webster is following earlier pre-Brexit, UK improvisers and forging Continental playing situations. These animated sessions with the saxophonist who has recorded with the likes of Mark Holub and Dirk Serries, show off his strategy in duo and trio situations.  Boskage pairs Webster with fellow London improviser Daniel Thompson playing acoustic guitar. Thompson who has worked with Benedict Taylor, Tom Jackson and other is a fine foil. He creates a fluid, animated texture throughout, while taking on emphasized and responsive roles. The duo CD’s three tracks are variation on a theme of stretched and intricate guitar designs often arising from below the bridge and high up on the neck that meet extended bright or bleak reed patterns that set the standard for tonal explorations. Throughout, no matter how many snarls, snorts and smears the saxophonist ejaculates or how irregularly emphasized or textural splintered his tonguing appears to be, a calming dual counterpoint lurks just below the surface. Mixed with chiming guitar runs, this serenity often surfaces during the sequences’ climaxes and/or finales to create meditative dissolves,  In real time, the two climax on “III” as shaking, circular reed vibrations evolve alongside guitar string jabs, as both players echo one another’s expositions. At the same time as Webster moves upfront while sliding up-and-down the scale, chromatic motion is maintained. That’s because Thompson follows a similar sizzling tension-and-release model while at the same time keeping the narrative moving. The understated finale involves the saxophonist producing buzzing variables with a-muscle power alone, likely without mouthpiece connection and no key touching, while the guitarist decorates the subsequent line with slurred fingering and ricocheting string stings. International improvised music is increasingly evolving in compelling and engaging patterns. Webster is definitely part of that evolution.” Jazz Word – Canada

“Altsaxofonist Colin Webster is Dirk Serries’ maatje in het langlopende KODIAN TRIO, en vormt op ‘Boskage’ een duo met akoestisch gitarist Daniel Thompson.  Nu is de combinatie (akoestische) gitaar en sax binnen de vrije improvisatie misschien geen zeldzame, maar wel een bijzondere combinatie, waarin de voorgangers niet de minsten waren.  Onvermijdelijk komen de duo’s die Derek Bailey met saxofonisten als Evan Parker en Anthony Braxton spoken.  Hedendaagse duo’s spiegelen aan die heren is onzinning, oneerlijk en onnodig.  Maar nu we toch bezig zijn : het spel van Thompson en Webster is een pak frenetieker dan dat van pakweg Bailey en Braxton, met meer richtingwissels en altijd meer goesting om naar een nieuw idee op zoek te gaan dan het risico te lopen te lang in het vorige idee te blijven hangen.  Het dient gezegd dat die schijnbare chaos wel degelijk veel mooie passages oplevert.  Ook opvallend : Webster – die doorgaans een wildeman kan zijn op zijn sax – trekt op ‘Boskage’ bijna nooit de power-kaart.” Gonzo Circus – Belgium

“The modus operandi of more than a few of the recent New Wave of Jazz releases is sparse free improvisation using extended techniques. These albums, often disjointed with abrupt transitions and long minimalistic passages, exhibit a surprisingly consistent approach despite their aleatoric nature – a commitment to the unpredictable.

Enter acoustic guitarist Daniel Thompson and saxophonist Colin Webster, both experienced improvisers who team up on the three tracks of Boskage. This pairing appears to be recorded live in the studio with little, if any, coordination ahead of time. As a result, the pieces vary from clicking, rubbing, and short bursty notes, to all-out blasts of energy. Neither Thompson nor Webster is afraid of contributing just about anything to the mix, as they move from abstraction to abstraction. These include quiet passages with punctuated notes coming at random moments, as well as more textural explorations with the aforementioned extended techniques.  Thompson jangles obtuse chords while Webster breathes through his sax, as just one example.

Without experimentation, there can be no growth. Thompson and Webster take this notion to heart, expanding the grammar and vocabulary of their instruments, breaking conventional rules of interplay in the process.” Avant Music News

“Przegląd nowości wydawniczych NWOJ zaczynamy od soczystego duetu gitary akustycznej i saksofonu altowego, instrumentów pozostających w dłoniach naszych absolutnych brytyjskich faworytów – Thompsona i Webstera. Dźwięki zarejestrowane latem ubiegłego roku w londyńskim studiu Soundsavers, całość podzielona na trzy części, łącznie prawie 54 minuty.

Spotkanie zaprawionych w bojach lisów, do tego świetnie znających się z niejednego polowania, nie wymaga jakiejkolwiek gry wstępnej. Małe, introdukcyjne frazy dość szybko przechodzą w tzw. narrację właściwą, choć nie nosi ona znamion szczególnie dynamicznej. Raczej tłumienie emocji niż ich erupcja. Webster wydaje pierwsze, nieco bardziej dźwięczne fonie dopiero w 4 minucie. Rysuje uroczo pozakrzywiane do wewnątrz linie melodyczne, a gryf gitary Thompsona też zdaje się być usiany opiłkami czegoś śpiewnego. Opowieść toczy się bez pośpiechu, w skupieniu i należytym szacunku dla partnera. W drugiej części improwizacji otwarcia saksofon nie stroni od preparacji i śladowej sonorystyki, a wszystko czyni na bazie dość gęstego flow gitary. Ostatni kwadrans zaczyna się solową ekspozycją Daniela, który w typowy dla siebie sposób, zmysłowo piłuje struny nierozpoznanym przedmiotem. Szum z tuby wplata się w ten mistyczny kaganiec i muzycy w wyjątkowo pięknym stylu finiszują.

Druga improwizacja zaczyna się nieco bardziej dynamicznie. Struny zdają się niknąć w czerwonej poświacie pełnego rozgrzania, a saksofon otulony dronowymi pasmami czuwa tuż z obok. Oto całkowicie wyzwolone free improv, dalekie od free jazzu, nieco mniej oddalone od wolnej kameralistyki, jakby czyste samo w sobie. Najpiękniej dzieje się w tej części nagrania, gdy struny gitary wpadają w delikatny trans, a tuba saksofonu szumi niczym las wierzbowy. Na finał części drugiej muzycy przypominają nam, że potrafią nieźle hałasować. W trzecią improwizację wchodzą rwanymi frazami, nutka goni tu nutkę, po czym nabierają gęstości niczym Derek Bailey i Evan Parker w najlepszych swych duetach, być może ci tutaj, nawet lepiej się słuchają! Nim po 10 minucie wejdą w stan poszukiwania ciszy, zdążą jeszcze zaprezentować nam uroczy fragment, w którym dźwięki obu instrumentów zlewają się w jeden potok fonii. W nowy wątek Daniel i Colin wchodzą niemal półtanecznym krokiem, nabierają dynamiki, aż iskry lecą. Last minute koi wszystkie dotychczasowe emocje – gitara repetuje flażoletami, a saksofon śpiewa zalotną pieśń pożegnania.” Spontaneous Music Tribune – Poland

“BOSKAGE” was recorded by Daniel Thomson (acoustic guitar) and Colin Webster (alto saxophone). Both improvisers have an inspiring playing manner, driving style and unique sound. All the music is based on free improvisation and avant-garde jazz. The main priority to fascinating experiments, innovative decisions and inventive playing techniques is in every composition. Musicians don’t hesitate to make the radical, provocative, crazy or simply weird musical decisions. Their music is a mix of passionate, driving, energetic and dynamic sound. Dozens of emotions, moods, characters and expressions form a rich and expressive musical language. Musicians like to get on driving free improvisations, extract strange timbres, express different moods and integrate pleasant surprises in the musical pattern. All these elements finally make an exciting and expressive sound.

“BOSKAGE” is based on free improvisation and avant-garde jazz. The main basics of avant-garde jazz are fused together with other jazz styles. Innovative experimental jazz is filled with extended playing techniques, modern and exclusive instrumental section, sonoristic experiments and specific ways of playing. That’s the centre of the compositions. An interesting and organic stylistic allusion is made. Improvisers like to turn on absolutely different direction – they make a colorful and sparkling mix of styles, sounds and expressions. From innovations of experimental jazz, a duo make a return to the roots – the main typical basics of 1960’s avant-garde jazz are used here. A nice organic synthesis between traditions and innovations is made. The improvisers make an effort to create universal, colorful and bright music pattern. An independent, luminous and driving melody line is the centre of it. Alto saxophone is the source of vibrant, energetic ,trembling and thrilling sound. Colin Webster is a great saxophonist – he has a hypnotysing and expressive playing manner, inspiring and driving playing style and rich musical language. All his music is based on free improvisation and open form – immediate reponses, sensible and exciting corresponding to each other’s playing, spontaneous surprises, sudden turns and dizzy passages are the main elements. Improviser has an outstanding virtuosity, innovative point of view and modern musical language. Stormy vibrant culminations, dreamy lullabies, relaxing meditations, repetitive minimalistic samples, striking riffs, exciting expressive melodies, dizzy flowing passages, gorgeous ornaments, special effects and sonoristic experiments meet together in his music. That makes an effort to emotional, dynamic and expressive sound. Alive, expressive, vital and blooming melody line is the key of whole album and the source of vividness, drive and energy. Acoustic guitar has contrasting and bright sound. Lyrical soft riffs, gentle light solos, passionate luminous culminations, remarkable melodies, strange timbres, research of extended playing techniques and special effects contain the main base of the compositions. Daniel Thomson is blurring the line between different moods and sudden changes – stormy culminations passe to silent pauses, light gentle passages are changed by wild shrieky riffs, dramatic culminations or any other mood. An organic synthesis of rhythms, tunes, sounds, expressions and timbres is made. Dynamic rhythmic section, gorgeous background, extended and innovative instrumental section, sharp modern harmony line and terrific melody line are the main compounds of musical pattern. A duo creates an inspiring, expressive and vivid sound.” Avant Scena – Poland

“The first of the two duos this time is the acoustic guitar of Daniel Thompson and the alto saxophone of Colin Webster, also of Tonus (see last week). I am not sure if I heard of Daniel Thompson before, but he played with Steve Noble, Neil Metcalfe, Tom Jackson, Benedict Taylor and Alex Ward. Here we enter the zone where free improvisation and free jazz meet up. Like the Serries/Verhoeven/Vanderstraeten release from last week this one about total freedom in playing, and none of the instruments are treated in a very regular way. Although, and I am not proficient in playing either instrument here, I can imagine it is easier to extract some sounds out of an acoustic guitar by the inexperienced player, and it still sounds like someone is banging the strings, but with the saxophone, I am less sure. I would imagine it needs some skill in the use of lips. On this release, both instruments can be recognized and yet both players use also a variety of techniques to do other stuff. Using a bow on the strings, or the saxophone as a percussion instrument. The interaction between both players is great. There is refinement in playing together, responding and being independent, each on par with the other. The duties are equally divided and separated. One takes the lead, the other follows, and roles might be reversed as easily. This is certainly not easy music and at fifty-five minutes also quite a sit through at this radical level. Best to be taken in a smaller portion or at full volume all at once, and not doing anything else but concentrated listening.” Vital Weekly – The Netherlands