There are so many levels on which this magnificent set of performances led and orchestrated by bassist Barry Guy can be appreciated. What he calls his New Orchestra is essentially a pared down version of his larger London Composers Jazz Orchestra, but this smaller group is no less potent or any less convincing. For one thing, there is Guy's brilliant writing, which permits the players -- and these include some of the cream of the European jazz avant-garde -- to flourish through individual solo contributions wrapped around kernels and flashes of magical insights. Saxophonists Mats Gustafsson and Evan Parker exemplify the high level of improvisation, but there is a wealth of talent throughout, including pianist Marilyn Crispell, trumpeter Herb Robertson, and trombonist Johannes Bauer. At heart, Guy is a landscape artist who paints broadly and passionately, but who pays careful attention to details. His own voice on bass is heard here more than with his larger conglomerations -- an additional treat. In the end, it is the broad strokes, the vision, the grandeur that most impress. A magnificent achievement.
AllMusic Review by Steve Loewy