Bayashi

Help Is on the Way

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    6
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AllMusic Review by

Help Is on the Way was recorded live in the studio, as opposed to live in a club, the setting usually preferred by Ayler Records. We lose a little something atmosphere-wise, but in terms of intensity this session ranks high. Bayashi is a typical sax-led free jazz trio. A big name on the Scandinavian scene since the '60s, Vidar Johansen developed a powerful voice on the tenor sax, with hints of Albert Ayler and Peter Brötzmann shaping its Norwegian identity. He also handles the bass clarinet and flute very well. Bassist Bjørnar Andresen performed with Jan Garbarek and Terje Rypdal, and has been a close collaborator of pianist Svein Finnerud. His playing ranges from conservative post-bop basslines to texture-based experiments. Hi use of amplification (also a volume pedal, I believe) gives his sound an unusual bite, as can be heard on the opener "Composers Call." Drummer Thomas Strønen, from a much younger generation, rounds up the trio with accurate and inventive playing. The musicians display good interplay and listening abilities, drawing the listener into the moment. If "Meeting the Stairs" runs a bit too long for its own good, the aforementioned first track and "Loosing Ground Control" (the latter featuring Johansen on flute) are highly focused and charged pieces. In the end, Help Is on the Way makes a very satisfying album, although it doesn't particularly stand out among the dozens of similar releases from 2002-2003.

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