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"Here the 14 members of British bassist Barry Guy’s Blue Shroud Band, gathered in Krakow to perform the bassist’s orchestral Blue Shroud, were recorded in Small Formations. The set features 26 tracks where band members from 10 countries demonstrate their skills. Some improvisations are unexpected, as when four reed players stack up so many timbres that are alternately shrill, subterranean, harsh and gentle, that it appears critical mass is reached. Then they’re joined by serpent-player Michael Godard, whose hunting-horn-like subtly adds a further subterrestrial dimension. On one track, Bach specialist Maya Homburger reads her part, but backed by Guy’s four-square bass and the creative accents of percussionist Lucas Niggli the result is easy swing. Other assemblages are more customary. Guy’s mufti-directional arpeggios and percussionist Ramón López’s pacing draw out the best from saxophonist Julius Gabriel so that his flutters, reed kisses and slurps culminate in a set that salutes both the hushed improv of Mopomoso and Gustafsson-style Energy Music. Vocalist Savina Yannatou showcases her tonal sensitivity or creates a hubbub of sounds scatted and otherwise equal to the instrumentalists’ free playing. Overall the MVP is Catalan pianist Agustí Fernández. On his own he mixes highly technical carefully prepared string addition to create a kaleidoscopic solo that’s as percussively syncopated as it is breezy. On the set’s final track he joins Guy, López, trumpeter Peter Evans and Yannatou for a matchless half-hour improvisation. Sequences successively resemble a classic piano trio; a rhythmic safety net for Evans’s tongue gymnastics; and focused backing for the vocalist’s mumbles and speaking-in-tongues. Throughout the pianist’s draws unexpected glissandi and inner-piano resonations like gold nuggets from a stream to both match and accompany the other soloists. Each box here has something to offer the adventurous. Together they add up to a faultless picture of contemporary improvised music." (Ken Waxman, New York City Jazz Record)