Mount Washington

Mount Washington

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A number of European free improvisers crossing the Atlantic to perform at the Line Space Line Festival; a couple of American organizers and improvisers themselves, eager to put together a large project; a friend offering his large living room in Mount Washington: everything just fell into place for Chris Heenan and Jeremy Drake to bring their vision to life. Thus, this CD documents the first meeting of eight musicians: Martin Blume (percussion), Tucker Dulin (trombone), Wolfgang Fuchs (reeds), Anne Lebaron (harp), Torsten Müller (contrabass), Philipp Wachsmann (violin), Drake (guitar), and Heenan (reeds). There are several pitfalls to free improvisation in large groupings, but Mount Washington actually turned out fine. The fact that most if not all of the players are seasoned large-ensemble improvisers (with King Übü Örchestrü, Company, Masashi Harada's Condanction Ensemble) surely explains part of its success. The level of listening is commendable, there is plenty of excitement and fascinating dialogues and counter-dialogues, and the whole thing remains under control without sounding too contrived. Fuchs and Heenan have a few nice bass clarinet exchanges in the sixth of these seven untitled tracks. Harp and acoustic guitar also develop an interesting partnership. Müller's opening quasi-solo in the last piece also provides a highlight. The sound quality is more than sufficient to clearly enjoy everyone's contribution. Mount Washington might not be compelling enough to wish for the ensemble to be reconvened, but it makes a satisfying document.