Various Artists

Dix Improvisations Victoriaville 1989

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To document the 1989 edition of the Festival International de Musique Actuelle de Victoriaville, the label Disques Victo released a compilation album -- a one-time project. Dix Improvisations Victoriaville 1989 culls short to medium-length free improvisations from five different concerts. The palette of instruments and forms of expressions used is wide, but the music remains mostly acoustic and the number of musicians never go beyond the trio. The three short pieces by violist LaDonna Smith and guitarist Davey Williams are all very interesting, their joyful interplay captivating the listener, and one of the main reasons to track down this CD. Guitarist extraordinaire Hans Reichel is featured on two solo tracks. "Northern Monologue: Blue Version," performed on guitar synth, fails to convince, but the "Green Version" is a riveting illustration of the extended possibilities of the Chapman stick, an instrument mostly popularized by bassist Tony Levin. The Paul Plimley/Lisle Ellis duet shows how intimate their musical relationship had become, but their material has been thoroughly documented elsewhere (including on other Disques Victo titles). The same applies to Ned Rothenberg, featured on three tracks: with his trio New Winds, in a duet with J.D. Parran (of New Winds), and solo. Along with the Smith/Williams track, the CD's main interest resides in "Nicosch," an improvisation by Maggie Nicols, Lindsay Cooper, and Irene Schweizer. The pianist was in great shape, providing fast-paced cascading notes and hammered chords for the voice and bassoon to play around with. Yet, Dix Improvisation Victoriaville 1989 will probably only interest the collector.

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