Jon Corbett tpt, tbn; Steve Done el. and ac. gtrs.
Recorded London 22/23 Dec. 1994. SLAMCD 217
1 Commence to dancing 6m 54s
2 The acrobat 7 16
3 Glove for sale 8 14
4 Millstones 9 59
5 The tapdancer 9 25
6 Waltz for debris 6 39
7 Square midnight 5 52
8 Little weed 6 36
9 ... and that’s an end to it 10 59
Cadence, September 1996
Jon Corbett, not to be confused with the Chicago writer/guitarist John Corbett, is a British trumpeter who plays similarly improvised music with a guitarist.
The style is essentially School of London, improvisation of the randomizing anti-dramatic variety. Both Corbett and Done are adept improvisers, wandering in and out of their own ideas and one another’s with balance and empathy. The trumpet (or occasional trombone) and guitar are well suited, with both musicians emphasizing shifts in pitch and tone, and an array of muted, muffled, and bent sounds. Corbett brings more linear continuity to the style than most, a continuing suggestion of older musical orderings. Jazz traditions are further suggested by gestures, an occasional turn of phrase, a sound, or sudden confluence. ‘Millstones’, for instance, is played with a Harmon mute.
Several of the titles are ironic invocations of the very jazz history from which such improvsation sometimes distances itself. It might be illuminating to know whether the titles preceded or followed the performances, whether they’re based on premeditated distance, found resemblance or even vice versa. They suggest a certain nostalgia for both form and its disruption.
This combination of the ambient and the aleatoric may sometimes challenge attention, and it’s more interesting listened to a track or two at a time. It’s neither exciting nor comforting, but it is always thoughtful and sometimes arresting intellectual play. Stuart Broomer
Rubberneck Something quintessentially ‘British’ about this release, obviously beyond the fact that both improvisers are British. It is in the intricacy of the predominantly acoustic sounds, the unflamboyant intimacy of their rapport, which falls so neatly inside the great tradition of small-group British improv. Sometimes you could mistake this for an early Incus release. And Steve Done (guitars) whose interest in improv deepened in the mid-80s, has more than an occasional Baileyesque turn of phrase, although his delicate note-bending hints at a blues orientation. LMC stalwart, Jon Corbett, who deserves a much higher international profile, responds with his own moody inflexions bringing glimmers of warmth and humour to these brisk dialogues; his trumpet and trombone attack is reined-in to complement the guitarist’s harmonic detail.
Those people who have experienced the music of duo Toronto guitaristLloyd Garber and London trombonist Herb Bayley will likely be completely comfortable taking in the sounds of British musicians Jon Corbett and Steve Done. The credentials of both of these players looks like a Who's Who of jazz. Trumpeter/trombonist Corbett has played with the likes of The London Jazz Composers Orchestra, Evan Parker, Derek Bailey, Anthony Braxton, Mike Westbrook and countless others. Guitarist Done has worked with Lol Coxhill, Elton Dean, Barry Guy, Paul Rutherford ... and the list goes on.
This duo recording was done live with no overdubbing. Instead of saying that the works were "improvised," they state that they were "composed in performance." This is a fitting description as the pieces often lead the listener to question whether many passages were composed or the result of spontaneous interaction. The nine pieces included in the package feature Done on both electric and acoustic guitars and Corbet on mainly trumpet as well as trombone. Each work is like a chargeof static electricity which snaps and crackles with electric energy. The players are involved in an extemporaneous dialogue not unlike a spirited conversation.
Also new from the British SLAM label is a cording of three lengthy improvisationsby The British Saxo-hone Quartet. This group features Elton Dean (also and saxello), Paul Dunmall (soprano and tenor), Simon Picard (tenor) and George Haslam (baritone).
All three of the works included in this set were also recorded spontaeously live direct to a recordable CD machine. No muss, no fuss, no mess . . . just an outstanding sounding recording.
The four players demonstrate a musical rapport which takes them through moments of harmonic beauty, dissonant tneison, walls of sound quiet interludes.
Both of these recordings are outstanding examples of the art of present-day musical improvisation and deserving of repeated listenings in order to appreciate all of their subtlety of detail. Chris Meloche