Derek Bailey, John Butcher & Oren Marshall
On first hearing I thought Trio Playing might have been a recording with one simple concept: "Remember mates, just random clicks, hisses and scratches. We don't want listeners to be able to tell if any particular sound is coming from the recording or from the radiators". But repeated listening gives the lie to this shallow interpretion.
Butcher is a very fine saxophonist, capable of beautiful, if rarefied, flights of imagination. He clearly has his own vision and it's an intelligent and serene one. Marshall is a somewhat more conventional player than his partners here, though he is not averse to the burble, belch or hiss. It's not the pitches or sounds he produces, but his propensitiy to engage in call-and-response rather than do his own thing, that puts him more in the Jazz tradition than Butcher or Bailey.
Bailey thrives when put in contexts of this sort. Butcher softly flutters, Marshall replies in a different language, say with breathy, slowly ascending quarter notes, and Bailey comments tellingly, like a BBC analyst at a United Nations debate between Iceland and Cameroon. And when they all resolve their differences and make nice, as during the exquisite chorale at the end of Room for Breath, the result is downright beautiful.
© Walter Horn - Cadence