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File under: Free Improvisation

John Zorn, Eugene Chadbourne, Tom Cora, Toshinori Kondo, Polly Bradfield, Andrea Centazzo

Environment For Sextet (LP)

Label: Ictus Records

Format: LP

Genre: Jazz

In stock


*2023 repress* Out of print and hotly pursued on the secondary market, we’re thrilled to announce a much needed reissue initiative, dedicated to Ictus’ back catalog, beginning with four LPs, Steve Lacy and Andrea Centazzo’s Clangs, originally issued in 1976, Derek Bailey and Andrea Centazzo’s Drops, originally issued in 1977, Steve Lacy, Andrea Centazzo, and Kent Carter’s Trio Live, also from 1977, and John Zorn, Andrea Centazzo, Eugene ChadbourneTom CoraToshinori Kondo, and Polly Bradfield’s Environment for Sextet, originally issued in 1979. Issued in limited editions of 250 copies, they stand among the most important and sinfully overlooked documents of the movement of global improvisation that unfurled during the 1970s, and can’t be missed.

Originally issued in 1977 as the 5th entry in the Ictus catalog, Trio Live was recorded in 1976, only a handful of days after Steve Lacy and Andrea Centazzo’s Clangs was laid to tape, presumably capturing another moment on the same two-week tour that had rendered the recordings for its brilliant predecessor. This time, the pair - Lacy and Centazzo - is joined by the American bassist, Kent Carter, a sinfully under-appreciated artist who had worked extensively in Steve Lacy's group, played on the two Jazz Composer's Orchestra LPs, and toured in the bands of Don Cherry, Alan Silva, Mal Waldron, Bobby Bradford, Max Roach, Roswell Rudd, Derek Bailey, John Stevens, Trevor Watts, Steve McCall and many others, leading into this era. The previous year, he had also delivered the stellar LP, Kent Carter Solo With Claude Bernard, as Ictus’ second LP, allowing Trio Live to be understood as a narrowing of an already tight circle, despite its slightly expanded ensemble. Recorded live at WKCR Radio in New York City in 1978 and issued by Ictus the following year, Environment for Sextet is easily among the most fascinating of the LPs in this batch. Encountering John Zorn at the earliest stages of his career, resting within a sextet of a new generation of stunning improvisers emerging at the tail end of the '70s who would go on to define a vast swath of the '80s sound - Polly Bradfield on violin, Andrea Centazzo on percussion, Eugene Chadbourne on guitar, Tom Cora on cello, and Toshinori Kondo on trumpet - it roughly builds on the series of collaborations that had featured on Centazzo’s 1978 Ictus LP U.S.A. Concerts.

Launching from a total wall of sound - full throttle fire on the boundaries of outright noise - Environment for Sextet takes the listening on an endlessly surprising journey through its players’ inner world, shifting between airy open passages that feature endless combinations of one or more players, to furious moments of sonorous lashings where the group falls in together in brilliant dialogical periods of converstant texture and tonal intervention. An engrossing and relentless listen from the first moment to the last - featuring two works built from two of Andrea Centazzo’s earliest graphic scores - Environment for Sextet is an absolutely stunning body of improvised work by what were then among the most important rising stars on the free music scene. One heard, there’s little question why copies of the original pressing are among the most hotly pursued artefacts from the Ictus catalog.

File under: Free Improvisation
Cat. number: Ictus RE004
Year: 2023

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