THE STONE QUARTET – Live At Vision Festival

Ayler

When performers of the artistic gauge of Joëlle Léandre, Roy Campbell, Marilyn Crispell and Mat Maneri unite to devise an instantaneous narrative, chances are that something special is going to happen. Live At Vision Festival was recorded in 2010; it consists of two tracks, a lengthy improvisation and a shorter but still legitimate encore. There’s no way of explaining the ongoings if not by telling that the slang spoken by The Stone Quartet erupts and flares more than flowing, particularly during combinations of single instrumentalists exposing the respective views (and, why not, their latent romanticism) as a preparatory ceremony before joining a wholeness that manifests in impressive spurts; the resulting dynamics are unforeseeable, to say the least. Another striking facet is the positivity of the messages, literally felt on our skin. No hint to clueless dejection or disheartening perspectives, four souls fused in a declaration against improvisational patency informed by a somewhat agitated good nature. They also listen with attention, choosing phrases and times of insertion of a statement in the acoustic tapestry with great care. The strings work in total symbiosis, Léandre the usual volcano of lyrical purpose, Maneri a receptacle of vibrant sweetness. Campbell delivers his lines with forthright vigour and property of language, Crispell acts as a harmonizing sage who perceives the exact instant in which one should speak or just remain silent. It’s nice to hear the musicians laughing liberated right after the end of each set, releasing the very energies that were used to keep everything in check over the most labyrinthine sections. Virtuoso interplay without surplus of fat, brilliant record.

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