Nerve 001

Come along intrepid musical travelers to the lightly-explored heart of EuroImprov, where brave jazz folk give their all to try to uncover new sounds. It's a realm far beyond tunes, grooves or notes, recorded without overdubs. And the Bonehouse two are particularly good at this wilderness trekking.

Hargreaves and Morton both had their flings with punk and pop music — no surprise considering they hail from Liverpool, home of the Beatles. But for the past few years they've dedicating themselves to experimental jazz. In the past they've worked with such British improvisers as guitarist Derek Bailey and saxophonists Evan Parker and Lol Coxhill. But since they're from a younger generation they approach the journey with a different perspective.

Morton, especially, brings more of a literal electric sound to his fretwork. And it can certainly be more in your face than improvisations from earlier guitarists like Bailey and Roger Smith. Plus his talent and/or (electronic) "treatments" allow him to alter what he produces so that on "Fremescent", for instance, it sounds as if he's scratching a balloon rather than a pick guard and "Forgotten People" opens with something that could as easily come from chimes. On "Mortal", there are times the guitar seems to turns into a violin or even a bagpipe, while an unwarying background drone defines the shape of the track.

Hargreaves isn't sitting still either. (Or maybe he is, depending on how he plays). Mostly he sees his role as complimenting Morton's excursions by exposing single notes and flurries of pure sounds. This results from what can be produced by his chesty flute playing or excursion on his saxophones, which aren't named, but are probably a tenor and a soprano.

"The Occurrence Of A Face", which soon becomes a challenge to see which horn lines best match split-second string fingerings, actually display several lyric saxophone sections. Would Hargreaves be amused or insulted to find out that he can remind listeners of a sort of Bizarro Stan Getz on several brief passages?

Since this CD was completed (1997) Hargreaves and Morton have gone on to individual projects. But at least they left behind this 57 minute sound picture of how well they functioned together.

— Ken Waxman

Track Listing: 1. Swarm 2. Fremescent 3. Forgotten People 4. Pink Trash 5. Mortal 6. The Occurrence Of A Face 7. The Fence

Personnel: Phil Hargreaves (tenor and soprano saxophones, flute); Phil Morton (guitar, treatments)