Steve Beresford & John Butcher – “Old Paradise Airs” (Iluso, 2020)

“Old Paradise Airs” was recorded by two great jazz masters – Steve Beresford (piano, objects, electronics) and John Butcher (soprano and tenor saxophones). Inspiring, innovative, filled with original investigations, extraordinary decisions and sudden turns – that’s how it’s possible to call the music created by this duo. The musicians are the masters of their art – they’re getting on radical and experimental musical decisions, astonishing sonoristic experiments, integrate special effects and strange timbres all together with coloristics and ornaments of all ranges. That makes the music alive, dynamic, perturbating and exciting – sudden mood’s changes, twisting turns, expressve melodies and transcendental passages are used everywhere.

“Old Paradise Airs” is completely based on artsy synthesis of avant-garde jazz and experimental music. Acoustics and electronics are co0mbined together and are the fundaments of instrumental section. Here extended, provocative, shocking, experimental and specific ways of playing are brought together with electronics, coloristics, special effetcs and modern playing techniques related to contemporary academical music. As a result, an innovative, colorful and universal instrumental section is created. The musicians are balancing between free improvisation with sparkling riffs and spontaneous solos and the pieces related to sonoristic, concrete, spectral and experimental music, and electronics, as well. These two different styles are integrated to one common musical pattern by using subtle, delicat and suggestive ways of playing. John Butcher forms his music on the basics of avant-garde jazz and free improvisation – instant improvising, spontaneous solos, dynamic turns, contrasting pieces, wide range of specific, exotic and innovative ways of playing are the main compounds of his music. The saxophones by John Butcher become the main accents of the melody line. It’s – shrieky, hollowing and rigorous, filled with blowing sharp riffs, aggressive scandalous pieces, hysteric exclamations, wainings, urglings, growling vibrant thrills and expressive melodies. The remarkable melodies are played with affection, passion and drive – flowing passages, special effects, strange timbres, coloristics and ornaments of all ranges make a gorgeous, expressive and touching sound. The improvisations have the leading position in the melody line – these episodes bring driving, terrific and vital sound to the melody line and whole album. Sometimes the music is animated, moving and thrilling accompagnied by original investigations, sonoristic experiments and rigorous blasts. When it gets solemn and sweet, romantic and soft played in lyrical mood, slow tempo or are highly related to ascetic minimalistic pieces with repetitive series and monotonous rhythms. Steve Beresford has absolutely different playing style – original improviser combines together piano, objects and electronics. His piano is based on wide stylistic variety – the main tendencies related to experimental, contemporary academical or sonoristic music are connected to the fundaments of avant-garde jazz and free improvisation. A musician gives the highest priority to the sound and its quality – that’s why emotional, touching and dynamic piano is subtly tinged with drone, glitch, synth tunes, computer devices sounds, ambient, amplifications, in-puts and many other electronics or various objects sounds. His music is dynamic and always in change – it’s moody, gloomy, deep or solemn at the beginning, when it gets striking, aggressive and anxious rising straight to expressive melodies, gorgeous transcendental passages, strange timbres, wild culminations, radiant culminations, hot thrills, bursting blasts and emotional solos. The music of this album has an inspiring, dynamic and colorful sound.

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