John Butcher / Paal Nilssen-Love

John Butcher (sax), Paal Nilssen-Love (d),

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We can’t say that these two musicians are traveling parallel ways. John Butcher’s experiments with feedback, amplification, microtonality and multitracking are pretty far from the studies in rhythm and texture developed by Paal Nilssen-Love. The British saxophonist is one of the top names in the ranks of the new guard of free improvisation (even if he’s been around since the Eighties and played with the old guard – people like Derek Bailey, John Stevens, and Phil Minton). The truth is, Butcher started the radical process of reinventing his sax playing during his tenure with those players, while the Norwegian drummer made his fame in the new wave of free jazz (his partnerships with Ken Vandermark and Mats Gustafsson, for instance), and only that condition of being “new” in their respective scenes seems to be common to them. That, and the improv factor, and this is precisely what enabled the existence of this duo. The “center” implied by the title of the CD is nothing more than the praxis of improvisation, and here we have two masters immersed in that kind of methodology and approach. And here we have two guys well-versed in the sax-drums formula: John Butcher toured and or recorded with people like Gerry Hemingway, Gino Robair, Eddie Prévost, and Dylan van der Schyff; and Paal Nilssen-Love experimented with the “Interstellar Space” instrumental combination (the title of the recording by John Coltrane and Rashied Ali) with Vandermark. The resulting music lands somewhere between jazz and totally improvised music. But where specifically? After you start listening to this music, you won’t care!


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