Bhob Rainey

The Withered Grasses

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Solo saxophone CD from Boston improviser and abstractionist. The nine pieces here exhibit a tangent of avant-garde saxophone technique that employs noise and silence in equal measure to traditional technique. Similar explorations made by Evan Parker and John Zorn are reference points, and a post-John Cage sensibility informs the music of Rainey. This is one of many improvisational CDs where Rainey's soprano is to the fore, as in his work in the duo Nprighn with trumpeter Greg Kelly; the music flows between pensive sparseness and rapid-fire runs. Like many artists working in free improvisation, Rainey's solo recording is an attempt to display his favored techniques and tricks that may be out of place in group improvisation, where this style would probably be best suited rather than alone and solo. Here however there is an intimate air that is charming. An insight into a personal vision in many ways, and in others the record feels incomplete, like a sketchbook of ideas never realized to full capacity. However, with free improvisation it is often the struggles and failures that can make the recordings more human and exciting. Here that kind of energy is certainly present in abundance.

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