Ag cs489









[…] Constantly experimenting, the London-based soprano and alto saxophonist is part of groups like the Remote Viewers and The London Improvisers Orchestra (LIO) and the other players here have as distinguished pedigrees. Ag also features percussionist Steve Noble, who has plied his trade beside everyone from Derek Bailey to Pat Thomas; plus largely self-taught acoustic guitarist Daniel Thompson, who has played with Evan Parker, Guillaume Viltard and the LIO. The other diners at The Dinner Party are pianist Vladimir Miller, who often moves between the UK and Russia, playing with the likes of Vladimir Tarasov and Ken Hyder. Bassist Pierpaolo Martino is not only a researcher in English Literature at the University of Bari, but has played with sound explorers like Marc Ducret and Eugenio Colombo.
[…] There isn’t any need for additional percussiveness on Ag however since Noble is one of the most virtuosic of drummers. At the same time this trio evolves interconnected improvisations with the first demonstrating their massed skills and the third as a sort of coda to the nearly 30-minute “Second Improvisation”, which stretches concepts to their limits, stabilizing into tripartite chromatic unity. Overall the performance is introduced with swift stick-across-the-cymbal-top reverberations, finger-style and twanging guitar plinks and reed flutter tonguing. Variations of this formula helps build up to a climax then calms the sequences. Most descriptive on “Second Improvisation”, the band begins by melding rim scrapes, string clipping and undulating reed puffs, whorls and whistles into a crying narrative paced by Noble’s bell-ringing. While Northover display a touch of circular breathing, the idea is to not produce excitement via individual showiness, but through group efforts that blend wooden drum pops, intermittent reed peeps and slurred string fingering into a vibrating whole. With drumming continuum as ballast any pretzel-like asides are finally straightened out for a solid climax, leading to the downshift-dissolve on the final track.
In the position of Hank Mobley whose respectable 1960s LP were fine, but nothing like what John Coltrane or Sonny Rollins were producing, Northover – and his associates here – have produce sounds that are perfectly acceptable. But considering the parameters of improvised music can be stretched so much further, that’s a goal he and they may only attain on further outings. Ken Waxman (JazzWord)