Reviews that mention Seymour Wright

September 17, 2021

Steve Lacy (Unfinished)

Organized by Guillaume Tarche
Lenka Lente

By Ken Waxman

Strictly speaking American saxophonist Steve Lacy (1934-2004) is finished. That is if we’re speaking about leave taking of this temporal plane. However the influence of the musician who introduced the soprano saxophone to modern Jazz and improvised music is far from over. Significant as an innovator, performer, composer and mentor, Lacy’s career, much of which was spent in Paris, was richer, varied and more complex than simple biographies and discographies can convey. This 470-page volume provides a kaleidoscopic, if somewhat eccentric, compendium of the many strands of Lacy’s life from 43 contributors writing in English, French and Italian. MORE

March 24, 2020

John Chantler/Steve Noble/Seymour Wright

Skivbolaget 1703-9

An uncommon take on astringent Free improvisation, the Atlantis trio ups the stakes by embedding the pulsations from John Chantler’s synthesizer into the sequences created by alto saxophonist Seymour Wright and drummer Steve Noble. Supplanting the chordal role with programming doesn’t push the CD’s three tracks into electronic, but instead Australian-in-Stockholm computer expert Chantler joins with the UK saxophonist and drummer to devise a program that plays up each instrument’s extended qualities as it produces variable and alluring connections. MORE

September 2, 2019


Empty Editions EE004

Program music with its inspirations concealed, uncommon Palina’tufa must be judged on its sound rather than any hidden agenda. Created by Britons alto saxophonist Seymour Wright and percussionist Paul Abbott (XT) during a two-week residency in Hong Kong, the CD’s four tracks purportedly reflect landscapes imagined in this uniquely democratic part of China. Instead of scenic reflections however, the spatial and temporal reflections created by the duo are broadened from the saxophonist’s extended techniques and feedback plus the percussionist’s adaptation of deconstructed rhythms and judicious use of electronic loops. The improvised program is singular, but also expands in terms of unparalleled technical dexterity. MORE

January 21, 2018


Front and Above
1703 Skivbolaget 1703-2

Focused on the next generation of sonic challenges improvised musicians are now addressing, Front and Above is a live date showcasing some of the methods adopted by one e threesome on its first-ever gig. Veteran trio member is British drummer Steve Noble, whose résumé includes work with everyone from Derek Bailey to Alexander Hawkins. The other Brit involved is alto saxophonist Seymour Wright, who has been involved with investigating alternative reed tones and techniques for years. Stockholm-based Australian John Chantler, who plays synthesizer here, but has also used other keyboards for excursions into minimalism and musique concrete, rounds how the group. MORE

November 21, 2010

A New Pulse:

Another Timbre welcomes both established and younger improvisers
By Ken Waxman

Frustration, altruism and a sudden monetary windfall were the contributing factors that led Simon Reynell to found the Sheffield England-based Another Timbre record label ( in 2006. After more than two dozen releases – both on CD and CD-R – it’s now acknowledged as an artistic success.

A sound recordist for television and someone who has been “passionately into experimental music” for around 35 years, Reynell had become increasingly frustrated by what he calls the “dumbing down” of TV programming to reality and celebrity-oriented shows from the sort of proper documentaries on which he works. An unexpected inheritance gave him some capital and Another Timbre (AT) was born. Initially setting out to present the work of young improvisers involved in drummer Eddie Prévost’s 10-year-old weekly London workshop, the catalogue has expanded to include not only improvisers from outside the United Kingdom, but also established stylists such as pianist Chris Burn and sound-singer Phil Minton. MORE

November 1, 2010

Martin Küchen/Keith Rowe/Seymour Wright

Additional Notes
Another Timbre at29

About the furthest sonic distance that can be imagined from a standard guitar and two saxophones CD, this noteworthy session is mostly concerned with the matchless musical magnificence that can result from the juxtaposition of unique and unexpected timbres.

British guitarist Keith Rowe, who appears at the Music Gallery on November 30 in the company of two different, string-playing sound explorers, has for years been investigating the possibilities of the electric table-top guitar prepared with add-ons and gizmos. What he does with dual alto saxophonists Martin Küchen and Seymour Wright here is subvert the expected sound of his instrument – and theirs. Radiating outwards an inchoate collection of broken chords, ratcheting strings and grinding friction, he alternately supplements or showcases the saxophonists’ tongue-stopped squeaks and shrills. Snatches of static-laden music or verbal phrases he serendipitously locates on an affiliated short-wave radio help convert this one improvisation into a constantly surprising, layered narrative, replete with concentrated drones and pulsed timbral flutters. MORE

October 2, 2006


Horn_Bill: Reed Solos
Matchless MRCD63

By Ken Waxman

An extended sonic essay in 21st Century reed techniques, HORN_BILL is an unaltered depiction of unaccompanied solos by five British sax players and a Berlin-based clarinetist. Absorbing in its audacity, this two-CD set captures the players not only eschewing melody, rhythm and harmony for silences and trifling breath dynamics, but in essence negating – with one significant exception – expected reed sounds.

The exception is tenor saxophonist Lou Gare’s “Saxophony”. A Free Music pioneer as a member of AMM up to the 1970s, Gare’s jazz-related variations have a title that perhaps unconsciously reflects some of the spectacular showcases of pioneering American sax popularizer Rudy Wiedoeft (1893-1940). As solipsistic as the others’ solos, his mellow tone is reminiscent of Coleman Hawkins’, with the variations played allegro with a wide, smeary vibrato and what seem to be a compendium of boppish licks. Although Gare exposes some falsetto note clusters, most of the time he lapses into almost pre-modern jazz riffs as if he was one part of a fanciful big band reed section. Most tellingly, just before the finale, he suddenly begins playing variations on “Lover Man”. MORE

April 5, 2004


Creative Orchestra Music, Chicago 2001
New World # 80572-2

Pexo - A Soundpainting Symphony
9Winds NWCD0234

Creating structures for ensembles of improvising musicians and voices is the thread that unites these two sessions. Scott Rosenberg and Walter Thompson have formulated different paths to creation -- the former by mixing improv and written material, the later by utilizing a composing-conducting system of gestured signals.

Although both methods are praiseworthy, neither disc is 100 per cent satisfying. That’s because application of the theory sometimes breaks down in the spontaneously recorded practice. MORE

September 22, 2003


The Voice Imitator
Balance Point Acoustics BPA 006

The Welsh Chapel
Cadence Jazz Records CJR 1161

What do you get when you put a German and two Americans together in a small room or unite a Norwegian and two Englishmen? While those situations may sound like the set up for a joke from the Second World War, the correct answer, from the evidence of these CDs, is exemplary improvisation.

The Norwegian-British concord involves veteran Nordic alto saxophonist Frode Gjerstad --who at one point led a band featuring the late British drum pioneer John Stevens -- and two players from a younger British generation. Singly and together Londoners bassist John Edwards and drummer Mark Sanders have played with many of the United Kingdom’s reed heavy hitters: John Butcher, Paul Dunmall and Evan Parker. When they connect with Gjerstad on these five instant compositions the result is superior Free Jazz. MORE

September 15, 2003


none (-t)
Matchless MRCD 54

Partly a misnomer, despite its title -- which is discussed in rather too much detail in the booklet notes -- NONE (-T) isn’t really a recording by a nine-piece band. Instead it’s an up-to-the-minute aural snapshot of the London improvisational scene that radiates from the workshop run by venerable AMM percussionist Eddie Prévost.

With nearly 74 minutes of music jammed onto 10 tracks, it highlights the skills of these experimental Prévostians -- to coin a new catchphrase for a scene that loves schisms and categorizations. The full nonet only performs on one track -- the first and longest -- and eight of the musicians -- minus one of the three [!] pianists -- combine to play on the last one, which clocks in at 9½-minutes plus. All other tracks feature various combinations of the players. Overall the disc provides a valuable showcase for the ideas of younger experimenters who are long past debating which sounds, noises and non-sound should be classified as music. MORE

April 26, 2002


In Chicago
Entropy Stereo Recordings 007

Three October Meetings
Balance Point Acoustics BPA 003

Except for misguided xenophobes, no one still insists that the best improvised music is played by Americans in the United States. Yet while jazz and improv are now as universal as soft drinks and computers, a transformation still seems to take place when foreign musicians play with Yanks on their home turf.

Take these two masterful sessions for instance. Woodwind players Luc Houtkamp of Holland and Wolfgang Fuchs of Germany link up with a different set of bassists and percussionists in Chicago and the Bay area respectively and produce some uncharacteristically hard-edged sounds. Houtkamp, who revels in modulated alto sax interactions tempered with electronics, comes up with a paraphrase of a midwestern tough tenor showcase on his disc. While Fuchs, whose work in small groups and with his large King Übü Orchestrü often produce sounds so rarified and vaporous that they make other restrained players appear to be creating Death Metal riffs, is upfront and in your face on his three horns here. MORE

May 17, 2001


Matchless MRCD 42

The British school of free improvisation is now so established that a disc like 396 won't raise an eyebrow, certain circles, at least. Seemingly a music of protracted silences matched with sudden saxophone squeals, random piano meandering and repetitive percussive effects, it proclaims its allegiance to uncompromising improv in every gesture.

In fact, on this, their first CD, alto saxophonist Seymour Wright, pianist John Lely and percussionist/sampler Yann Charaoui -- all British-based -- appear to be more a sum of their influences than anything else. MORE