‘Flying a Kite…’ draws the listener into a colourful and intimate, auditory world of boundless potential…

New Jazz and Improvised Music Recordings CD NEWJAiM15

Glasgow Improvisers Orchestra is a pool of around twenty musicians from a variety of musical and artistic backgrounds.

Recorded Sunday 27th November 2016 at the Centre for Contemporary Arts, Glasgow.

Just 5 tracks and a total of 80+ minutes of music written by various members of the orchestra to rejoice in the life of one of its founding members, bass player George Lyle.

Susurrant mantras and jubilant improvisations illuminate the celebrations and the whole illustrates how this orchestra has searched for new ways to express itself as a large, improvising collaborative.  Unafraid of sampling, loops and static, it mixes all of these with conscious, cognisant improvisation.

The longest track on the album is Another Room at 21mins-23secs.  It aims to recall Lyle’s playing style and the sound of his performing, here executed by a nonet.

The composer was Una MacGlone.  The piece is slowly unwound, and this enables the listener to become increasingly aware of the musicians’ interactions and to enjoy the wide-ranging gamut of colour, sound and texture, which lead you to a thoroughly engrossing and beguiling aural experience.

The second chapter of the piece is more orthodox and is filled with sung, but wordless vocals from Cliona Cassidy.  I have always preferred voice-as-instrument to conventional singing.

A little something about the Glasgow Improvisers Orchestra, for those who have not encountered the ensemble before.  It’s a pool of about 20 musicians from a variety of artistic and musical backgrounds and was named after the city where it was founded.

It’s actually an international establishment and regularly joins forces with organisations and artists from around the world, also holding an annual festival of improvised music in Glasgow, featuring many well-known international performers.

Some of the orchestra’s commended recordings have included such leading guest improvisers as Lol Coxhill, Marilyn Crispell, Barry Guy, Maggie Nicols and Evan Parker.

‘Flying a Kite…’ draws the listener into a colourful and intimate, auditory world of boundless potential, allowing a fascinating intrusion into a celebration of the musical life of George Lyle.

Reviewed by Ken Cheetham