All of your favorites, in one place.
Recorded February 2008, this album captures a specially organised Treader concert at St Giles-in-the-Fields church in London's West End. A series of duos played at the event, each improvising over the course of a twenty-five minute set. First up, the excellent John Butcher (on tenor and soprano saxophones) pairs with drummer Mark Sanders for 'Tooth Pivot', an incredible opener that stumbles into life through the reverberant performance space, with Butcher at first sounding measured and contemplative while Sanders' drums explore a sound that's far away from conventional kit dynamics. These two sound magnificent together, stirring up thoughtful, often very restrained passages that capture improv musicianship of the very highest order. Next comes clarinetist Alex Ward with Roger Turner on drums; their piece starts off with a slightly slapstick quality, full of dramatic percussive interjections and animal-like calls from Ward. There's a heightened sense of urgency here and a more persistently abstract quality that makes for a pleasantly exhausting and disorientating twenty-five minutes. Finally, John Tchicai (playing tenor sax and bass clarinet) goes head-to-head with drummer Tony Marsh for what might be regarded as the most vehemently free-jazz-oriented set of the three, completing a triptych of staggeringly good performances, all beautifully recorded and produced by Ashley Wales and John Coxon. Highly recommended.