AMN Reviews: Daniel Thompson & Colin Webster – Boskage (2019; New Wave of Jazz)

The modus operandi of more than a few of the recent New Wave of Jazz releases is sparse free improvisation using extended techniques. These albums, often disjointed with abrupt transitions and long minimalistic passages, exhibit a surprisingly consistent approach despite their aleatoric nature – a commitment to the unpredictable.

Enter acoustic guitarist Daniel Thompson and saxophonist Colin Webster, both experienced improvisers who team up on the three tracks of Boskage. This pairing appears to be recorded live in the studio with little, if any, coordination ahead of time. As a result, the pieces vary from clicking, rubbing, and short bursty notes, to all-out blasts of energy. Neither Thompson nor Webster is afraid of contributing just about anything to the mix, as they move from abstraction to abstraction. These include quiet passages with punctuated notes coming at random moments, as well as more textural explorations with the aforementioned extended techniques.  Thompson jangles obtuse chords while Webster breathes through his sax, as just one example.

Without experimentation, there can be no growth. Thompson and Webster take this notion to heart, expanding the grammar and vocabulary of their instruments, breaking conventional rules of interplay in the process.

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