AMN Reviews: Andrew Raffo Dewar – Interactions Quartet [brd 068]

Andrew Raffo Dewar
Andrew Raffo Dewar (Photo credit: michaelz1)

The “interactions” of the title can be read as referring not only to the highly refined interactions among the four players throughout these eleven tracks, but to the well-proportioned interaction of composed phrases and improvised sections characteristic of the music presented here. All were composed by Andrew Raffo Dewar, who also plays soprano saxophone.

The five Interactions making up the CD’s first half encompass everything from Dewar’s turbulent sax cadenzas to asymmetrical melodies played in unison on reeds (Dewar, along with Kyle Bruckmann on oboe and English horn), electric guitar (John Shiurba) and percussion (Gino Robair). The Piece for Four Instruments, dedicated to Earle Brown, is on the whole sparser, although its pointillistic sections are counterbalanced by long tones in unison or stacked in dissonant, often microtonal, intervals.

Dewar’s saxophone is a dominant voice throughout, alternating rapid flurries of notes with prolonged, strident tones that are gradually transmuted through microtonal deviations and changes in relative duration. Bruckmann’s reeds bring a likeness in range and timbre to the soprano saxophone, but this likeness paradoxically makes for a certain pungency during dissonant passages. Shiurba’s guitar is essential to framing and offsetting the other instruments through doubling and counterpoint as well as percussive interventions, while Robair’s use of percussion and electronics reflects his uncanny sense of when to be present and when not to be.

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