INTAKT RECORDS – CD-REVIEWS
Barry Guy - Marilyn Crispell - Paul Lytton.
ITHACA. Intakt CD 096

 

 

 

A sound so profound it takes your breath away
The Trio Barry Guy-Marilyn Crispell-Paul Lytton is one that has worked together for some time and it shows in their interplay. Barry Guy's writing for this group is full of shifting dynamics. Marilyn Crispell plays much darker than she does on her recent ECM work, and Lytton putters around his percussion kit evocatively. the group's work together on "Void," "Fire And Ice," and "Ithaca" is a lovely rattling web of music that conveys a sense of life and danger while Guy shows his virtuoso pizzicato and arco bass abilities an the brief "Shard" pieces. As it moves from quiet to frenzy, this powerful, skeletal music becomes extremely compelling and hypnotic, a sound so profound it takes your breath away.
Jerome Wilson, Cadence Magazine, August, 2005

 

 

 

lthaca ist ein gewaltiger Brocken. Oder ist es ein flüchtiges Monument? Oder ein nomadisierendes Haus? Es ist nach der grandiosen Odyssey, die das Trio Guy / Crispeli / Lytton als Debüt im Jahr 1999 für Intakt einspielte – erneut dekonstruierte Klangkunst auf der Höhe dieser Zeit. Auseinandergefügt in einer Materialarchitektur des scharfen Streichelns und der weichen Schnitte. Rastlos, bewusst zerfasert, abstrakt, sinnlich, uneinsichtig, klar, irrsinnig kalt und mit heißer Vernunft. «Die Resonanz des Verwurzelns, des Heimkehrens und des Teilens ist wichtig für das Verständnis der Musik auf diesem Album», so Guy, selbst ein geographischer und intellektuell Nomadisierender, der sich seine Räume und Bewegungspunkte stets auslöschen und neu erschaffen muss.

Sowohl Odyssey als auch Ithaca gründen in visueller Inspiration auf Gemälden des irischen Malers George Vaughan. Gleichsam sind dem Architekten Guy hier vor allem die architektonischen Konzepte von Zaha Hadid und Daniel Liebeskind wichtige Reflexions- und Bezugspunkte für sein musikalisches Schaffen geworden. Ob Linien, Ecken, Ebenen, Material, Texturen und Kontraste – Guys Trio bewegt sich in einer akustischen Architektur der Dialektik. Sich ergänzende und wieder abstoßende Widersprüche und oszillierende Energiefelder zwischen Dichte und Offenheit, Definition und Un-Definition und Realität und Virtualität bestimmen diese elf sehr fokussierten Stücke. Struktur und Freiheit und darin die nimmermüde Agio des Entdeckens: Es reicht nicht, dieses weite Spektrum nur theoretisch abzudecken, es muss auch praktisch, ganz im seefahrerischen Sinne eines Sindbad oder Odysseus, «erfahren» werden.

lthaca ist der Ausgangs- und Endpunkt, an dem sich nach erfolgter Reise die Rest-Differenz zeigt, die das Leben erst als solches definiert und von der puren Existenz unterscheidet. Dazu braucht es Einschnitte und Ausblicke, Linien und Fluchtlinien – warum nicht diese: Wie wäre es mit einem Gang durchs jüdische Museum mit dieser Musik im Kopf? Doch es braucht kein architektonisches Vorwissen zu dieser Musik, betont Guy. Gleichsam spüren wir die Spannung der dialektischen Parameter von Enge und Weite so deutlich wie selten in dieser Musik. Doch was bedeutsam ist: Die Wirkung der Physis ihres Geistes auf unser Gemüt ist von unautoritärer Dringlichkeit geprägt. Guys pointierte, klare und konsequente Resonanzen, Crispells leises Tippen und ihre an Taylor geschulte harsch-abstrakte Akrobatik sowie Lyttons wissende, nahezu egolose Präsenz führen durch einen Klangkorpus, in dem immer wieder neue (Flucht-)Linien aufgezeigt und überraschende (Rest-)Räume geöffnet werden. Die Transformation der Odyssee gerät unter diesen sechs Händen zu einer mitreißenden Reise, deren Abstraktion und Surrealität nahezu greifbar erscheint. Ein postmoderner Mahlstrom, ein Meilenstein der Fragmentation, die erst in Buxtehudes Klaglied zu einem kleinen Tod findet.
Marcus Maida, Jazzthetik 12/2004, Deutschland

 

 

 

 

Ecksteine in der Kunst des Pianotrios

Dreieinhalb Jahre nach Odyssey (Intakt 070) lassen BARRY GUY, MARILYN CRISPELL & PAUL LYTTON Odysseus heimkehren nach Ithaca (Intakt 096). Beide Titel korrespondieren mit gleichnamigen Gemälden des Iren George Vaughan, die - zusammen mit der Architektur von Zaha Hadid und Daniel Libeskind - jeweils als Sprungbrett und Energiepol für die musikalischen Exkursionen dienten. Abstrakte Narration - Vaughans Arbeiten erinnern, dem Ausschnitt nach zu urteilen, ein wenig an Dubuffet - und die Strukturierung von leerem Raum sind Leitlinien für Guys Kompositionen. In ihnen versucht der Kontrabassist Libeskinds Bewusstsein für Fragmentarisches und für Spuren der Vergangenheit zu verbinden mit Hadids Synthesen von definierten und undefinierten, realen und virtuellen Formen. Ersteres spiegel sich in Titeln wie «Void», «Broken Silence» oder «Shard», letzteres in «Fire And Ice» oder «Zig Zag», ohne darin programmatisch aufzugehen. 2 der 11 Stücke sind freie Trioimprovisationen. Das abschließende «Klaglied» interpretiert Buxtehude und versucht dabei einen Moment von Klarheit und inniger Versenkung zu vermitteln. Bass, Schlagzeug und Piano sind eigentlich eine kopflose Jazz-Rhythmussektion. Die Leerstelle, gerne klassisch kompensiert durch das Piano, scheint beim Guy-Crispell-Lytton-Trio aber vollstœndig diffundiert in die ausbalancierte Eloquenz der Einzelstimmen. Die Musiker haben mehr gemeinsam als nur das Geburtsjahr 1947. Geteilt und realisiert wird auch eine Vision von kammermusikalischer Demokratie und inspirierter Konsonanz. Die Prœgnanz des Ausdrucks ist Atem beraubend. Permanent, aber ganz besonders bei den drei Guy-Soli «1st, 2nd & 3rd Shard», wird man gefesselt durch lyrische Nuancen und feine Dosierungen, permanent überrascht durch packende, splittrige, kantige Attacken. Odyssey und Ithaca sind Ecksteine in der Kunst des Pianotrios. Wer zu den Namen Crispell, Guy & Lytton Klangbilder sucht, der sollte unbedingt diesen homerischen Gesœngen lauschen.
Rigo Dittmann, Bad Alchemy, BA 45, 2005

 



Time was when there was a collective sense of shock in the improv community when Marilyn Crispell began playing—gasp!—lyrically. Though the intense romanticism at the heart of her unique piano playing had been far too underemphasized (just listen to Santuerio, for example, or any of her gorgeous solo discs for Music & Arts), her reading of Annette Peacock compositions seemed initially jarring to a lot of listeners (myself included). As it happens, this turned out to mark Crispell’s latest stylistic development, one which she explored over the course of several ECM recordings with a fine, sympathetic trio.
However, during this same period she’s been found frequently in the company of the Parker-Guy-Lytton trio (consult the Leo releases After Appleby and Natives and Aliens) and also with Guy and Lytton in this sterling piano trio. It’s not so much the case that her playing with this trio—nominally under bassist Barry Guy’s leadership—is moving in a different direction than her “ECM trio” with Gary Peacock or Mark Helias and Paul Motian; indeed, this disc’s predecessor, Odyssey, is filled with moments of lushness and repose. But, significantly or not, the follow-up release starts out on a far more rambunctious note on “Fire and Ice”, with Guy and Lytton crashing away as they often do in the company of Evan Parker. And while it’s not long before the clouds part and, in the open space, Crispell explores some of her more intimate, Bill Evans-influenced work, this record as a whole sits at the intersection of a number of Crispellian styles rather than at one stylistic extreme.
The energies move so quickly—with subtle mercurial comments from Lytton, dancing pizzicato from Guy, and crashing intervallic leaps from Crispell—that even though the basic materials are quite familiar by now, this stuff is a joy to hear. No matter how intense the playing, there is always an audible purpose and design to the improvisations. Certainly this structural sympathy comes across more on pieces like Guy’s “Unfolding” or “Void (for Doris)”, tunes where the trio is most likely to invite comparisons with new music. They work just as easily in miniature form (several tracks entitled “Shards” are quite effective, and Guy’s solo “Klagfield” is an enchanting combination of folk melodicism and an early music feel). And on longer, more exploratory pieces, the trio can ease back with patience—their reserved commentary like ripples in silence’s pond (on the lovely “Zinc”, for example)—or can give you an intense frisson of excitement when they crash forward with full intensity (on “Zig Zag” or the title track).
The trio’s empathy, and their consistent strength in a variety of approaches, distinguishes this release from any number of crash-bang-boom recordings out there. A nice one from some old favorites.
Jason Bivins, USA, January 2005

 

 

Those wondering when pianist Marilyn Crispell, after her last few lyrical releases on ECM, was going to get back to some seriously explosive keys-bashing need wonder no longer: Ithaca is here, under the leadership of the UK's free-jazz bass giant Barry Guy, and perceptive, subtle UK free drummer Paul Lytton makes the magic number '3.' This music has echoes of Cecil Taylor at his most percussive and late-period John Coltrane at his most 'out,' but there's also a sense of spacious, geometric, hushed lyricism, which is, alas, a tad distant and chilly for this reviewer. But make no mistake, Ms. Marilyn C REALLY kicks out the jams on this disc, as in volcanic! Those of you/you-all/youse, however, who are seriously into the European avant-garde jazz/improvised music sphere -- especially fans of Crispell's early recordings and her recordings with Anthony Braxton -- will compete for tickets to Ithaca.
Mark Keresman, Jazzreview.com, January 2005

 

 

Five stars
For a long time now, the pronouncements by the press about the bad health of the avant-garde - sometimes translating into a death certificate - didn't appear to coincide with the music playing in my CD player. A circumstance which seems particularly painful today, when more than a few avant-garde musicians appear to have attained a condition of "classicity", with maturity and a certain (relatively speaking!) accessibility being the outcome of long experimentation and distillation of language, not the fruits of narrower horizons and "clever" moves. The sad news being that the same trendiness that used to characterize the mainstream press - and the most commercial trends such as jazz-rock and those voluptuous female vocalists - appears to have spread into those magazines which (for love or money) dedicate more than a few pages to less commercial realities; so we have to read only about that particular saxophone player - and piano player, and drummer, and bass player and record company. The same happens when it comes to national tours, with the very same musicians representing our "new horizons" (and what about all the other musicians - will they have to wait to be all rediscovered post-mortem?).
It's at least starting from 1970 - i.e., the founding of the London Jazz Composers Orchestra - that bass player and composer Barry Guy is a worthy presence in the European (post-jazz? improvised? extra-classical?) panorama. The same can be said of Paul Lytton, one of the few drummers/percussionist that have worked hard to make the space covered by the concept we call "percussion" quite a bit wider. The two musicians have worked together in a variety of situations, for instance in the famous (well... relatively speaking) Evan Parker Trio (and here I have to mention at least his Electro-Acoustic Ensemble). Once a decisive part of the Anthony Braxton quartet, with an excellent solo career in full bloom - check her recent CD Storyteller - Marilyn Crispell has played with Guy and Lytton on works by the aforementioned London Jazz Composers Orchestra and by the Evan Parker Trio - I have a weakness for the excellent After Appleby (2000).
Odyssey (2002) had been a wonderful release: a CD where brief (and quite controlled-sounding) improvisations alternate with long compositions penned by Guy. Compositions where the bass player made the trio sound as a "pocket orchestra" - hence, a certain division of labour. This was true of the compositions that had already been played by a large line-up (for instance, Double Trouble Too and Harmos) and of those that had been especially composed for the record (such as Rags).
Ithaca appears to have the "improvising trio" at its center - let's not confuse it with the usual "piano trio" playing music "by the numbers" - just check the original part played by Lytton's cymbals. Well-served by a clear recorded sound that invites the listener to turn up the volume, Lytton is excellent in his speeding up on cymbals (Fire And Ice), in his colorful introduction to an improvisation (Broken Silence), in his dialogue with the double bass (Zinc). More than on the previous album, Guy appears to lead from the instrument, not from the written page; and he has also some very good solos (check the three Shard tracks). Crispell's piano is as mature as we'd expect, just as good in the agitated climates of Fire And Ice and Zig Zag, with their traces of Cecil Taylor, and in those more tranquil moments such as Ithaca and Void (For Doris), the latter - for this writer, at least - reminiscent of Lady Of The Mirrors-era Anthony Davis. Ithaca's final track is the meditative and concentrated Klaglied. Five stars, etcetera.
© Beppe Colli 2005, CloudsandClocks.net | Italy, Jan. 16, 2005

 


E' ormai da tempo immemore che le affermazioni tanto spesso ripetute dalla stampa a proposito del pessimo stato di salute - quando non addirittura della già avvenuta morte - della musica d'avanguardia non sembrano trovare il minimo riscontro in quanto gira sul nostro CD player. Un fatto che suscita in chi scrive un certo rimpianto soprattutto oggi, quando non pochi musicisti d'avanguardia sembrano essere pervenuti a una condizione che ci arrischieremmo a definire di "classicità"; una classicità e una (relativa!) facilità d'ascolto frutto di una lunga sperimentazione e di un processo di asciugamento, non certo di un rimpicciolimento degli orizzonti e di facili accomodamenti. La (triste) novità degli ultimi tempi pare essere data dal fatto che un certo trendismo una volta appannaggio della stampa più mainstream - e delle correnti stilistiche dalle alte tirature, dal jazz-rock alle female vocalists di bella presenza - sembra essersi diffuso a quelle testate che (per amore o per necessità) dedicano parte delle loro pagine alle realtà più minute; con il risultato che il sassofonista ha da essere quello e non altro, e così pure il pianista, il batterista, il bassista e la casa discografica. Una realtà che ha il suo puntuale contraltare nelle rassegne di "nuove musiche", laddove la minestra nazionalmente somministrata è sempre una per volta (e degli altri che ne facciamo, li riscopriamo tutti post-mortem?).
E' almeno dal 1970 - fondazione della London Jazz Composers Orchestra - che il contrabbassista e compositore Barry Guy è una realtà della musica (post-jazz? improvvisata? extracolta?) europea. E lo stesso può tranquillamente esser detto di uno dei batteristi e percussionisti che più hanno contribuito ad allargare il campo coperto dal concetto stesso di "percussione": Paul Lytton. I due sono stati compagni di innumerevoli avventure, forse su tutto il celeberrimo (insomma... in senso relativo) trio che li vede a fianco del sassofonista Evan Parker (e non possiamo certo tacere dell'Electro-Acoustic Ensemble). Già pilastro del quartetto di Anthony Braxton, nutrita carriera solista, Marilyn Crispell ha inciso album sempre più snelli e comunicativi - si veda il recente Storyteller - mentre il suo cammino incrociava Guy e Lytton nei lavori della già citata London Jazz Composers Orchestra e nel trio con Parker - valga qui per tutti l'eccellente After Appleby (2000).
Odyssey (2002) aveva già presentato splendidamente il trio. Una dicotomia di situazioni: alle più brevi (e decisamente controllate) improvvisazioni facevano da contraltare le lunghe composizioni firmate da Barry Guy. Queste ultime mostravano il contrabbassista intento a fare del trio una vera e propria "orchestra tascabile" - da cui logicamente conseguiva una certa proporzione sonora; e questo era vero sia dei brani che erano già stati eseguiti da ampio organico (Double Trouble Too, Harmos) che di quelli composti per l'occasione (Rags).
Ithaca sembra invece avere quale fulcro d'attenzione l'"improvising trio" come entità autonoma - un'entità da non confondere con il "piano trio" intento a suonare musica bella-e-pronta: si veda quale buon esempio il ruolo tutto originale assegnato ai piatti. Ben coadiuvato da una nitida registrazione che invita ad alzare il volume, Lytton è stupefacente negli accelerati sui piatti (Fire And Ice), nell'introdurre un'improvvisazione con grande fantasia timbrica (Broken Silence), nel fronteggiare a distanza ravvicinata il contrabbasso (Zinc). Più che nella precedente occasione Guy sembra guidare più dallo strumento che dalla partitura, concedendosi anche dei bei momenti in solo (le tre Shard). La Crispell è incisiva come ci aspetteremmo, parimenti a suo agio sia nei climi agitati di Fire And Ice e Zig Zag, dove a tratti affiora qualche ricordo tayloriano, che nei momenti dal respiro più disteso quali Ithaca e Void (For Doris), quest'ultima a parere di chi scrive reminiscente dell'Anthony Davis del periodo Lady Of The Mirrors. Album dal procedere piacevolmente logico, Ithaca si chiude con la meditabonda e concentratissima Klaglied. Cinque stelle eccetera.
© Beppe Colli 2005 CloudsandClocks.net | Jan. 16, 2005

 

 

 

* * * * *
Flirrende Klangballungen, elektrisierend dicht, mit dramatischen Ausbrüchen in abtrakte, freie Sphären, korrespondieren mit Lyrik, Klangschönheit, Elegie – wunderbar intuitives, kollektives Improvisieren und Kommunizieren, auch in den Solo Flights mit stets mitschwingender Expressivität. Grandios .
Johannes Anders, Jazz n' More, Zürich, Januar 2005

 

 

 

There are times when members of an ensemble feel so secure with one another, have a language developed that is so similar, that there is only the necessity to speak in superlatives. This trio has had knowledge of and respect for each other's music for a long, long time. They have developed their language together on one other record "Odyssey" [also released on Intakt]. "Ithaca" serves as a logical extension of the previous session, developing new ideas into crystalline structures and superb music. Is it really necessary for me to spell out the way Barry Guy's bass is so tender one minute and then abrasive the next. The way he strikes and caresses his bass puts my mind into other worlds and makes me only wish he would play live here sometime in the near future. It's true: Marilyn Crispell's piano maneuvers have only become more lyrical, more poignant as of late. This is a good thing as she has now found a new path to tread on, one filled with delicate [but not tender] beauty, fine craftsmanship and ultimately, her own unique touch. Percussionist Paul Lytton still acts as a glue to the trio. His light touch on the cymbals the crackling and utter delicacy are wonderful. These descriptions could go on and on for eternity. But, in all honesty, are they all that crucial? It's not words that should convince you to listen to this CD. It's the music. "Ithaca" is an essential record from a trio who has already found its own, very distinct and personal language.
Tom Sekowski, Gaz-Eta, Poland, March 03

 

 



These three players share quite a bit of history. Bassist Barry Guy and percussionist Paul Lytton are two thirds of an extraordinarily long lived and uncompromising free improv trio with Evan Parker; pianist Marilyn Crispell has worked with both that ensemble and the grouping that makes a return appearance on this disc. Still, they find a distinct group voice on Ithaca, one shaped but not dominated by Guy’s compositions.
His writing here is inspired by painter George Vaughan, whose painting “Ithaca” gives the record its name, and architects David Libeskind and Zaha Hadid. The liner notes discuss their respective creative efforts, but one doesn’t need to know their work at all to notice the spaciousness, carefully etched shapes, and planned progress of the 11 tracks on this CD, which is very different from either the blizzard-like density of the Parker-Guy-Lytton trio or the gauzy impressionism of Crispell’s recent ECM recording Storyteller.
Crispell really shines here, negotiating dramatic dynamic shifts with aplomb. Her lumpy, left-handed opening gambit on "Fire And Ice" is as heavy and rough as a formation of black volcanic; then Lytton pummels her rocky shapes with a resolutely unswinging cymbal assault. The piece comes to a sudden halt two and a half minutes in, after which the pianist issues an alternately stern and tenderly imploring statement. She also matches Guy's mad, virtuosic velocity on the penultimate track "Zig Zag." Special credit is due to Martin Pearson's lustrous, vivid recording. Throughout, spontaneity and structure complement each other, yielding music that is at once lyrical and implacably forceful.
By Bill Meyer, Dusted Magazine, New York, USA, March

 

 

 

Outstanding
Inspired by two architects and underscored by Irish artist George Vaughn’s piece Ithaca, bassist Barry Guy and his bandmates enact various planes and emotive elements on this superb effort. With this outing—and a second trio date for Intakt Records—the trio morphs tumultuous crosscurrents with driving and oddly balanced rhythms.
Guy, pianist Marilyn Crispell, and percussionist Paul Lytton are among the more notable improvisers on the globe. To that end, this band’s mark of distinction and clarity of execution separates the thriving wannabes from the proven warriors. Their music is based upon many variables, including swirling clusters and happenstance dialogues amid moments of soul-stirring solitude. The trio also excels when seamlessly transposing intense movements into softly melodic grooves. At times, they effortlessly merge a sense of introversion with aggressive tactics and climactic opuses, marked by Crispell’s gravitating crescendos. Architecturally speaking, the musicians devise an abundance of contrasting angles, while translucently switching gears on occasion. A superb and often stunning rendering of free improvisation, built upon substance and a noticeable sense of purpose. Outstanding.
Glenn Astarita, All About Jazz, USA, April 2005

 

 


More of a rethinking of the spatial and dominant arrangements of a piano trio by bassist Barry Guy than a follow up to this threesome’s first CD, ITHACA gives him ample scope to outline new strategies with which to subvert the most traditional of improv groupings.
It’s no overtly radical response, but it’s done differently than how pianist Marilyn Crispell, percussionist Paul Lytton and Guy approached ODYSSEY (Intakt CD 070). Unlike that session, this disc contains no miniaturization of London Jazz Composers Orchestra themes, and almost no references to any genre outside of Free Music. Additionally, Crispell, who has a tendency towards classical delicacy – an inclination expressed on ODYSSEY and other CDs – becomes a vigorous note chopper this time out. Nine out of the 11 compositions – including three miniature shards – are Guy’s. The other two are instant compositions to which all three contribute.
Almost from the first time her fingers make contact with the keyboard on “Fire and Ice”, the inaugural tune, Crispell is digging deep within the bowls of the piano, exercising the copper-wrapped lowest 32 notes, then sweeping arpeggios across the middle and top registers. In response Lytton strokes offbeat clusters of concussive notes, while Guy contributes adagio patterning with ponticello squeaks. A hitherto unexpected link from the pianist to Lennie Tristanto is unveiled here. As she pounds her key clusters with an extra resonation, the bassist’s string swipes become denser and more complex, as the drummer’s pressured bounces add to the claustrophobic feeling. Rappelling guitar-like strums from Guy that echo within the bass’s wood grain serve as a coda.
Leaving aside “Klaglied”, a piece that features the three exploring the bassist’s variations on the theme by the 17th century Danish composer Diderik Buxtehude, as a normative restful coda, the vigor and invention remain in force from the first all the way to “Zig Zag”, the penultimate Guy composition.
Fervid dynamics delivered with high frequency vibrations by the pianist cause determined syncopation to reverberate within the soundboard, key frame and balanced tension. With Guy shuffle bowing and Lytton rattling and bouncing cross-handed, Crispell peals up the keys to treble notes, scattering patterns as she goes.
Unselected cymbal sounds give the accompaniment a fricative and concussive timbre, as does sul ponticello arco work from the bass. Faster and looser, the pianist’s angular patterns amplify every note to its vibrations and nodes, helped by adroit pedal movement. Adjusting the development for a nocturne of single-note romanticism helped by buzzing acro tones and plucks just below the tuning pegs from Guy, Crispell revs up again to speedy, dissonant action in the final three minutes. Using high-frequency, key-clipped notes with plenty of stamina, she draws out sawed bull fiddle notes and rattling cymbal, snare and tom responses from the other two.
Throughout the other tracks each of the trio members gets to strut her or his stuff. It could be resounding string yanks or rubbing harmonic pattering with the bow that exposes both the root notes and their overtones from Guy. Or it could be Lytton exposing textures that alternately resemble bicycle bell pings, shaken and scattered chains, bond paper being crumpled or finger cymbal resonation that simulate ceremonial tones at a Tibetan monastery. Or it could be Crispell strumming arpeggios in the piano’s bottom quadrant, ramming out cross-toned dynamics with a touch of atonalism, and exposing an overload of notes that spill across bar lines.
Continuity is on tap as well as friction though, as on “Broken Silence”. Here flat handed note attacks from Crispell and refuse strewing drum top patterns from Lytton make room for circular piano movements that turn to tractable counterpoint. Bisected by silences, the tempered melody is augmented with adagio arco string oscillations from Guy.
As a composer and soloist, Guy has redefined double bass playing and writing for larger improvising groups. Assembling the knowledge he has of the formation going back to his early days in pianist Howard Riley trio, here the bassist capitalizes on the skills of Crispell and Lytton to redefine the piano trio his own way as well.
Ken Waxman, Jazzword and Jazzweekly, USA, April 2005

 

Après s’être laissé une première fois aller aux rythmes des aventures d’Ulysse (Odyssey, 2002), le trio emmené par le contrebassiste Barry Guy poursuit la traversée. Avec en tête l’achèvement du voyage, il traduit en musique le mystère du retour à Ithaque, déjà réfléchi par le prisme d’une œuvre de George Vaughan (voir pochette).
En confrontant sa musique à la peinture et à l’architecture moderne, il semblerait que Guy optimise l’inspiration délicate. Seul, il se montre capable de commander des assauts à l’archet (First Shard), de trahir des tourmentes au son d’hammers emportés (Second Shard), ou de se concentrer assez pour entendre des voix (Third Shard).
En trio, on élève des temples à la subtilité. De chaos organique instauré (Zinc) en improvisations sereines et élégantes (Broken Silence, Unfolding), il cherche et trouve les nuances de décisions abruptes (Zig Zag). Grave et emporté, le piano élit domicile à chacun des étages visités par Marilyn Crispell.
Evoquant aussi bien, et sur un même morceau, Irene Schweizer que Gonzalo Rubalcaba (Fire And Ice), Crispell épate par la qualité de ses choix. Paraphrasant ingénument les parties d’archet de Guy, la voici portée au pinacle par la précision tout en retenues du batteur Paul Lytton (Ithaca).
Lied méditatif du compositeur Buxtehude (1637-1707), Klaglied conclut sereinement l’enregistrement. Interprétation aux harmoniques minutieuses et aux canons partiels, qui assure trois musiciens en bout de course du repos à venir. Dense, et que ne viendra troubler le moindre doute quant à la qualité des souvenirs.
Chroniqué par Grisli, Infratune, France, April 2005

 

 

Ithaca, nome che richiama anche il precedente progetto Odissey di Guy e soci datato 2002 e uscito anch'esso per Intakt, è il titolo di un dipinto dell'irlandese George Vaughan. Qui si estende l'idea di una performance di Barry Guy messa a punto in occasione dell'inaugurazione di una mostra del pittore. Undici brani che portano la firma del contrabbassista e che condensano la sua scrittura fatta di episodi euforici e umorali, come nell'iniziale Fire and Ice, di luci diafane giocate sui ricchissimi armonici del suo strumento a corde e di lirismi solitamente preservati per le registrazioni al Rainbow Studio. Il resto appartiene alle grandissime capacità strumentali dei tre: Lytton sempre prezioso con il suo ricco bagaglio di cianfrusaglie sonore e zampilli percussivi, la Crispell che sa dosare i chiaroscuri senza eccedere mai in una direzione che può farla tacciare di abuso di lirismo o eccesso di brutismo (delicata e composta anche nel vocalizzo che accompagna uno dei soli di Guy). E poi quest'ultimo che del suo contrabbasso riesce a farne uno strumento puro e cristallino, lontanissimo da ogni possibile accostamento carnale (ascoltare Third Shard). Lo apprezziamo comunque di gran lunga più qui, nella sua veste jazz-contemporanea, piuttosto che nei panni neo-cameristici assieme alla moglie Maya Hamburger, cui ruoli maggiormente "istituzionali" obbligano a contegni molto più trattenuti. Ma a contraddirci istantaneamente una visione che ha del rimaneggiamento di un corale bachiano nell'epilogo di Klaglied, splendido disorientamento che solo certi grandi musicisti sanno creare.
Michele Coralli © altremusiche.it, 2005

 

 

Retour du trio magique que nous avions totalement apprécié lors de la sortie d '«Odyssey» avec Barry (contrebasse), Marilyn (piano), Paul (percussion). Ils interprètent 9 compositions du leader et 2 du trio. Un univers sonore d'où s'échappe une énergie importante faisant allusion à la fois à l'art abstrait (toile de George Vaughan), et aux travaux de deux architectes, mais aussi travail délicat sur les tonalités sonores mises en évidence.Une œuvre en profondeur qui démontre tout le talent musical de ce musicien mettant aussi en évidence ses deux confrères. Un disque qui apparaît comme une vision de sons palpables. Étonnant.
Jazz Notes, France, Mai 2005


 

CHOC - Le Monde de la Musique
Détourné e d'une carrière classique après avoir en endu John Coltrane et Cecil Taylor, Marilyn Crispell retrouve le batteur Paul Lytton et le contrebassiste Barry Guy. Ses deux comparses appartiennent à une branche radicale des musiques improvisees europeennes où, à la tête de son London Jazz Composers Orchestra, Barry Guy défendit la persistance de la partition comme génératrice et canalisatrice du discours improvisé. Soliste d'une musicalité virtuose, d'une cérébralité très physique (voir les hallucinantes matières sonores qu'il manipule dans les trois solos ponctuant lyensemble), Barry Guy est recherché, pour son pizzicato comme pour son archet dans les domaines tant de l'avant-garde que de la musique baroque (avec le London Sinfonia).
A deux improvisations collectives près, il est le compositeur de la quasi-totalité des pièces ici présentées. Des scénarios-parcours plus que des œuvres fermées sur ellesmêmes, qui sollicitent l'esprit d'initiative de ses comparses, tant pour leur capacité à saturer l'espace que pour la qualité de leurs écoutes respectives, leur faculté de jouer avec le silence, d'arpenter le spectre harmonique et timbral, leur sens de la dynamique. Ainsi de l'orage pianistique qui ouvre la pièce d'ouverture à la relecture frissonnante du Klaq Lied WV76/2 de Buxtehude en guise d'épilogue, en passant par les crépitements d'Ithaca, la luminosité consonante de Void et les abstractions crépusculaires de Zinc, nos trois instrumentistes tirent de limdrovisation interactive des propos d'un naturel confondant et d'une expressivité bouleversante.
FRANÇOIS MARINOT, Le Monde de la Musique, Paris, Mai 2005

 

 

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Après l'acte de naissance du trio avec "Odyssey" enregistré en 1999, Barry Guy (contrebasse) retrouve Marilyn Crispell (piano) et Paul Lytton (percussions) pour cet "Itha-ca" qui reflète mieux encore ses préoccupations orchestrales dans un cadre intimiste. Une mise en espace aérienne, parfois minimaliste dans la finesse des contrastes, toujours attentive à la fluidité des échanges. L'écoute du trio est propice à créer une trame organique qui ne cesse de se mouvoir, à travers les tensions et altercations suggérées ou exacerbées. Dans un entrelacs de textures volontairement abstrait, la narration semble suspendue, se faisant jour à pas feutrés dans le chant intérieur du piano. Une quête
dont l'incandescence se fait l'écho d'un autre trio (celui du contrebassiste avec Evan Parker) mais qui porte moins sur l'ivresse que sur le recueillement. L'attention au silence offre une luminosité rare, une trace onirique pas si fréquente dans cet univers.
Thierry Lepin, Jazzman, 1/2005, Paris

 


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