Old And Young Masters


Your reviewer saw the above quartet performing this repertoire in Rome about two and a half years ago, so what’s missing here is any factor of potential surprise. But there’s no question that lovers of old-fashioned jazz rock will have a ball with Blues For Tony, a 2-CD set dedicated to the memory of Tony Williams, Pasqua and Holdsworth having been a part of The New Tony Williams Lifetime halfway through the seventies. Favourites from that era such as “Fred” and “Proto Cosmos” are rendered with characteristically classy know-how – not that we had any doubt given the names involved – together with more recent individual compositions (Wackerman’s “The Fifth” and Pasqua’s “San Michele” the ones that mostly remain in mind) and long improvisations that might sound a little dated at times but are always imbued with a kind of passionate involvement that is becoming rare to see nowadays. Yet it’s the English guitarist who steals the show (and, as usual, my heart) in the opening section of “Pud Wud”, thanks to a series of magnificent chordal swells which constitute both a trademark and a symbol of this man’s exceptional harmonic vision. I’m still waiting for the day in which AH releases an album made exclusively of superimposed guitars: maybe road manager and label honcho Leonardo Pavkovic could try and convince the stubborn maverick from outer space to finally make his thirsty fan’s wish come true. (Moonjune)

JIM O’ROURKE – I’m Happy, And I’m Singing And A 1,2,3,4

Reissue of the namesake work from 2001 – in truth, among the less profound ones in the list of JO’R more experimental recordings – with a bonus disc containing additional material, which is obviously the only reason for obtaining a new copy of this item. The original remains a rather light-hearted nicety after eight years, its atmospheres ranging from Terry Riley-esque repetitions informed by lots of digital skipping and assorted kinds of technical malfunctioning utilized as a compositional means to the near-solemnity of the final “And A 1,2,3,4”, whose slow melodic arcs recall selected chapters from Stephen Scott’s bowed piano book (instead, O’Rourke doesn’t specify the sources for his music, which I agree with – mystery is OK in certain instances). The second CD is mainly characterized by the lengthy “Getting The Vapors”, almost forty minutes of mysterious, unfathomable drones fading in and out, intoxicating disquietude and oppressing anxiety eliminating any chance of use for meditation-with-incense purposes. It is also very pleasant to rediscover “He Who Laughs”, a composite piece full of “concretely oneiric” manifestations, stimulating electronics, marching bands surrounded by fog and unrestricted processing that had originally been issued on a limited edition vinyl on Neon Gallery, a rarity missed by many latecomers finally available again. While some of these tracks do not reach the same level of inner vibration typifying O’Rourke’s masterpieces – if you want to start with one, head straight to Long Night or Tamper – there’s enough meat here to keep your mind busy for days, complex reflections, disguised fears and the occasional humour typical of this composer all valid reasons for stopping doing other things and lend attention to sounds that might be loved or hated, but never appear conventional to these ears. (Editions Mego)

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