Few instruments would seem as ill-suited as clarinet, with its fragile tone and fussy fingering, to the raucous, high-volume climate of the 1960s avant-garde. Yet Perry Robinson cut out a niche for himself in that heady period playing with the likes of Archie Shepp and Carla Bley. That some four decades later he still has the chops to keep pace with a new generation of progressives is evident as he steps forward in a feature role with bassist, composer, and impresario William Parker. The trio session -- the ensemble filled out by drummer Walter Perkins -- offers plenty of room for unfettered blowing, and each member takes full advantage of the format. Robinson has a stiletto tone that if it evokes any other licorice sticker it would be iconoclast Pee Wee Russell. Parker has a rich sound that resonates from the finest grain of his acoustic bass. And Walter Perkins proves to be exactly the flexible groovemaster needed for a date that ranges from free blowouts to the traditional blues of "Blue Flower." The full resources of the trio are explored most fully on "Fence in the Snow," which opens with delicate bells and has, before it ends, each member stretching his capabilities to the point of shouts and sonic explosions. The second disc finds the trio playing off the response of a highly sympathetic audience.
AllMusic Review by David Dupont
Track Listing - Disc 1
Track Listing - Disc 2