01. The Y? 7:28
02. Remember To Remember 7:56
03. Du Doo 7:30
04. Maze 12:51
05. "In Relationship To Circumstance..." 10:03
Trevor Watts - Alto Saxophone, Soprano Saxophone, Composed By
Howard Riley - Piano, Composed By
Barry Guy - Double Bass, Composed By
John Stevens - Drums, Cornet
Recorded April 1979 at Tonstudio Bauer, Ludwigsburg
Engineer: Martin Wieland
Produced by Steve Lake and Manfred Eicher
The sub-terrain to the former’s mountains, “Remember To Remember” opens low and dark in Guy’s strings. Watts carves a stark alphabet into Riley’s chaotic palimpsest, leaving Stevens to flounder on shore. There is a dynamic of searching here that, if not apparent already, should by now hit the listener like a eureka moment, as the group’s modus operandi becomes clear as day: this is not free improvisation but improvised freedom. With this realization as our compass, we leap over every pin and needle into “Du Doo.” Guy again provides the anchor, which is meant to maintain as much as obliterate stasis. His heart is in the details. Stevens brushes the frame until it turns to dust, while Watts wanders joyfully in these ashen ruins as if they were newly built. The detailed finish shows just how sensitive this quartet can be.
“Maze,” in spite of its title, is the most linear track on the album. Its surface-level overlap only thinly veils a continuity that sustains a full 13 minutes’ worth of depth-soundings. At the core of it all is the relationship between Guy and Watts, who, like photographers taking pictures of the same scene but from different angles, share complementary foci. On the other side of the coin is the final track, “In Relationship To The Circumstance…” Its gestural fabric is rendered opaque by the illusion of space between instruments. The sparseness is dark matter made audible. Watts plays the roll of bait and the others fish hooked to its line, flailing for one last song.
Like Barre Phillips, Guy is a bassist who avoids pigeonholes like the plague, but with an art that is ultimately healing. This is one of his many effective prescriptions.