Friday, April 13, 2012

Stone Quartet Live at Vision Festival (Leandre-Campbell-Crispell-Maneri)

The Vision Festival in New York City has quite likely come to be the most important "progressive" jazz festival in the US today. It lasts for several days and includes some of the most important improvising musicians active. For the 2010 edition the festival was graced by the presence of the Stone Quartet. Their performance there is to be had on the Ayler Records CD Live at the Vision Festival (Ayler 124).

It's a free improv set with a most interesting lineup: the bassist Joelle Leandre, an excellent improviser who has been creating exciting avant music across the pond for many years; Roy Campbell, trumpet master with an exceptionally fertile sense of invention and precise timbral control; Marilyn Crispell, a truly innovative force for outside pianism; and Matt Maneri, a violist who graces any ensemble with intelligent improvisations that have a kind of conceptual rigor.

It's 41 minutes of excellent ensemble interaction from a group that one only hopes will gather together to play again many times in the future. The lack of a drummer helps the string section shine forth with clarity and transparency, though I would like to hear this group hold forth with an equally creative drummer-percussionist as well. There is a cohesive collective statement that you hear come into being before your very ears, so to speak. They embody the excitement of the now, the elation of spontaneous collective composition.

Hear this one! And hear this music live whenever you can. Each of these artists deserve your support. They are at the top of their art. And support small labels like Ayler records. They are gateways to our present-day musical world!

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