Daring?  Innovative?  Modern?  Just as it was – it sparkles.


John Pope (double bass and percussion); John Garner (violin and percussion)

Recorded at Blank Studios, Newcastle-on-Tyne 28/11/2021

The music herein is a celebration of the revolutionary music of, and subsequent to, the 1960s.  The tracks define where or from whom it arises: Albert Ayler, Carla Bley, Anthony Braxton, Don Cherry, Ornette Coleman, Alice Coltrane, Jimmy Garrison, Jeanne Lee, Misha Mengelberg.  Two string instruments may not seem a lot for such complex music, but the two musicians are suitably impulsive and highly interactive in their improvising and capably illustrate how the complexity of this Avant-garde has validated the tenacity of many musicians of the present day to music first generated some 60 years ago.

Bass player John Pope is definitely from out there in left field, being also involved with other Avant projects.  He is part of Archipelago, an electro-jazz trio with saxophonist Faye MacCalman and drummer Christian Alderson.  He is also involved with Liber Musika, exploring and studying the music of such artists as Anthony Braxton, Roscoe Mitchell and Wadada Leo Smith, each in turn a member of the Association for the Advancement of Creative Musicians (AACM).

Pope is also involved with numerous other musicians covering a wide range of contemporary musicians and their individual styles, including Chris Biscoe, Joe McPhee and Evan Parker.

John Garner is a different kind of musician who is fully occupied in all musical genres, undertaking session work of the widest possible variety.  He is an experimenter and also admits to a ‘left field’ inclination and an aesthetic that is neither repressed nor restrained.

The music at times is highly affecting, evoking particularly emotional and haunting aesthetics and moods.  The mood of the title track follows that inclination, dark and melancholy, but it is followed by Cherry’s Mopti, a festive and exuberant piece of blissful celebration of the violin and its potential.

Daring?  Innovative?  Modern?  Just as it was – it sparkles.

 Reviewed by Ken Cheetham