…what matters most and is clearly heard is the rapport between these two exceptional improvisers.

ECM 2827 / 655 3952

Jordina Millà (piano); Barry Guy (double bass)
Recorded February 2022

A live concert recording from Munich’s Schwere Reiter hall captures a vital new collaboration in the rarefied field of improvised music. The two musicians had previously recorded a studio album, but this documents their first concert performance.

Barry Guy needs no introduction as his powerful and inventive bass playing has been at the forefront of contemporary music and improvised performance for more than fifty years. In addition to his virtuosic playing and development of extended techniques that serve to bring out all manner of unique sonorities from his double bass, Guy also brings his extensive experience of playing in other musical genres from baroque music, contemporary classical work and chamber music.

A new name to many is Jordina Millà, but one that will be difficult to forget after listening to her staggeringly impressive performance on this recording. Based in Austria, Millà studied classical music in Rotterdam and Paris but after meeting the pianist and improviser Agustí Fernández she decided that was the path she wanted to follow.

If the duos debut album String Fables gave an indication of a strong and mutual partnership developing, then Live in Munich confirm the promise of the earlier recording taking the music even further into uncharted territory.

If working with such an experienced exponent of the music one gets the impression that Millà should perhaps let Guy steer proceedings, then think again. Millà is fearless in the way that she reacts to the bassist and the course that the music dictates. If Guy has discovered new ways to bring sounds out of the bass that previously seemed inconceivable, the pianist is equally up for the challenge of searching out new sounds and how to best express them.

Over six improvisations that vary in length from twenty-three minutes to just four, bassist and pianist keep the music flowing. From the use of extended techniques from Guy and Millà’s exploration of playing inside the piano the strings of their respective instruments are plucked, bowed, strummed and struck to bring forth a multitude of sounds that embrace gentle melodies to ferocious swirls of sound that have a density that is at once intense yet strangely complete and fulfilling.

Impossible at times with small gestures and percussive effects from tapping of the wooded bodies of their instruments it is at times difficult to tell who is playing what role, but what matters most and is clearly heard is the rapport between these two exceptional improvisers.