Daniel Thompson/Colin Webster

Boskage
New Wave of Jazz nwoj 0023

Colin Webster/Vasco Trilla with Michal Dymny

Live at the Spontaneous Music Festival

Spontaneous Live Series 002

Having established himself as part of London’s newer generation of improvisers, alto saxophonist Colin Webster is following earlier pre-Brexit, UK improvisers and forging Continental playing situations. These animated sessions with the saxophonist who has recorded with the likes of Mark Holub and Dirk Serries, show off his strategy in duo and trio situations.

Boskage pairs Webster with fellow London improviser Daniel Thompson playing acoustic guitar. Thompson who has worked with Benedict Taylor, Tom Jackson and other is a fine foil. He creates a fluid, animated texture throughout, while taking on emphasized and responsive roles. Polish guitarist Michal Dymny, who has played with Marcin Oleś and Rafal Mazur, adds string amplification to one track of Live at the Spontaneous Music Festival, to the duo of Webster and Barcelona-based percussionist Vasco Trilla, who has also played with Luis Lopes and Yedo Gibson. The saxophonist and drummer go it alone on the other track.

The duo CD’s three tracks are variation on a theme of stretched and intricate guitar designs often arising from below the bridge and high up on the neck that meet extended bright or bleak reed patterns that set the standard for tonal explorations. Throughout, no matter how many snarls, snorts and smears the saxophonist ejaculates or how irregularly emphasized or textural splintered his tonguing appears to be, a calming dual counterpoint lurks just below the surface. Mixed with chiming guitar runs, this serenity often surfaces during the sequences’ climaxes and/or finales to create meditative dissolves,

In real time, the two climax on “III” as shaking, circular reed vibrations evolve alongside guitar string jabs, as both players echo one another’s expositions. At the same time as Webster moves upfront while sliding up-and-down the scale, chromatic motion is maintained. That’s because Thompson follows a similar sizzling tension-and-release model while at the same time keeping the narrative moving. The understated finale involves the saxophonist producing buzzing variables with a-muscle power alone, likely without mouthpiece connection and no key touching, while the guitarist decorates the subsequent line with slurred fingering and ricocheting string stings.

Using an electric rather than an acoustic guitar, Dymny is more prone to exposing flanges, distortions and dot-matrix-printer-like loud and speedy runs in the live trio set. But here Webster contributes flutter tonguing and reed bites that take in altissimo runs and gravelly lows. Meanwhile Trilla may splatter and sprawl when his extends his percussion imagination, but he also prods the narrative with a shaking shuffle. Eventually the three reach a crescendo where mercurial finger patterns from the guitarist, shaking drum smacks and flutter tonguing reed approximate a psychedelic freak-out until falling away with a final reed toot.

Making allowances for instrumental heft and power, Webster’s duo with Trilla evolves with same finesse he brings to his Thompson duet. Smacking tongue slaps and double-thumping rolls and ruffs characterize the polyphonic interface, which in parts turns on slowing microtonalism as well as Eastern European-like wiggles and bounces. Eventually bagpipe-chanter-like excursions from the saxophonist and rolls and hi-hat coloration from the percussionist come together in a climax that is powerful but still lower case.

International improvised music is increasingly evolving in compelling and engaging patterns. Webster is definitely part of that evolution as are the other players whose skills are preserved on these discs.

—Ken Waxman

Track Listing: Boskage: 1. I 2. II 3.III

Personnel: Boskage: Colin Webster (alto saxophone) and Daniel Thompson (acoustic guitar)

Track Listing: Live: 1. Set One 2. Set Two*

Personnel: Live: Colin Webster (alto saxophone); Michal Dymny (guitar)* and Vasco Trilla (drums and percussion)