February 16, 2019
Peter Evans/Barry Guy
Maya Records MCD 1802
Creating unconstrained real-time improvisations from three valves and four strings on five tracks are two experienced players who turn singular outbursts into a conglomerate of assorted textures and tones on this CD. So attuned are American trumpeter Peter Evans and British bassist Barry Guy to the art and science of in-the-moment interactions, that the lack of other instruments isn’t noticed. Guy of course has been involved in this sort of free-form give and take since the 1960s, especially in his own large and small ensembles and groups with the likes of Evan Parker. Comparatively younger, Evan has in the past decade racked up credentials and affiliations with many of the major improvisers in the US and Europe, including Parker and Guy.
Rapid but systematic, Evans and Guy intuit the most logical yet creative way to expand on a duet from the beginning of “Red Green”, the first tune, as snarling echoes from the trumpet’s body tube are met by forceful string stops. They amplify this strategy throughout the disc. Although every sort of timbre-stretch and multiphonic expansion is taken to its logical extreme throughout, the most notable instance of their teamwork is on “Green White” and “White Red”, nearly 13 minute each in which the two can stretch their ideas for maximum impact.
On the first tune, embouchure and string stretching patterns almost duplicate one another’s textures as staccato tongue flutters and aviary-like double bass friction slither, curve and swerve through the narrative at the same time. Eventually the trumpeter goes on to express bravado intonation by physically deconstructing the horn into its individual parts as he solos. The resulting agitated twitters, yelps and vibrations are backed calmly by Guy with a combination of double stops and calculated strums until both complete the same thought. Fuzzy mid-register gusts from Evans provide the melody as sharp bass sweeps and pops cement the groove. Cerebral explorations featuring corkscrew trills and plunger drops from Evans plus nuanced string emphasis from Guy dominate the introduction to “White Red” until an unexpected velocity shift in track development brings blazingly swift bow sweeps plus split tone brass yelps to the forefront. The subsequent breathtaking riposte and reply dialogue encompasses inflections from the peaks and valleys of the improvisation.
Numerically Evans and Guy may be a duo. But the syllogistic musical moments they create together contain enough ideas, developments and extensions that otherwise could have come from a much larger ensemble.
Track Listing: 1. Red Green 2. Green White 3. White Red 4. Red Black 5. Black Grey.
Personnel: Peter Evans (trumpet) and Barry Guy (bass)