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Fixations (14) - CODA

John Butcher

Saxophonist John Butcher discovers something new during every one of the 14 solo improvisations on this marvellous compilation. Drawn from concerts on both sides of the Atlantic, the improvisations each wed the excitement and surprise of discovery to an engaging sense of proportion, pacing, and form.
For instance, Woodland Drift is an elegant exercise in line and colour. The Train and the Gate part 1 is a continuous stream of bold assertive tones and sharp-edged trills, in contrast to the gestural daubs and splatters of notes and short phrases in Nearly Art. The four pieces recorded at Chicago's Empty bottle display an exacting control of tenor and soprano saxophone textures, dynamics, and colours.
Quite often, Butcher produces more than one sound at a time, such as the simultaneous high-pitched twitter and low-pitched rasp that he fiddles with throughout Second Bottle. On Third Bottle, solid notes materialise from surrounding envelopes of sound, and Butcher gradually strings the notes into linear forms.
These are all highly concentrated and intensely realised improvisation. It's their purity of sound and clarity of organisation that make this an exceptional document of the improviser's art."

© Ed Hazell - CODA.