Lesli Dalaba- trumpet
Fred Frith- gtr.
Eric Rieman- prepared & extended Rhodes elec. piano
Carla Kihlstedt- violin, elec. violin, Stroh violin
Whenever I test run an improv CD, one question I ask is: Does it pass the originality test? Many players who use free methods end up sounding more or less the same. Improv can be a tar pit: all that freedom is there, but that same freedom pulls legions into paradoxical conformity. This quartet easily clears that boondoggle. Though the playing is free, structure arises out of the air and lightly imposes itself. A highpoint is “Worm Anvil” which hits its stride when a taped bit sounding like one of Godzilla’s rivals sets up a structure all of the group happily spin circles around. Frith is in top form here, summoning and utilizing an exhilarating array of textures, timbres and unexpected sounds. Not a few of the sonics here are things you can trace to any of the above-listed instruments, so hats off to the spirit of inventiveness, but it means I can’t definitively give credit to individual artists. I’m familiar with Frith’s style, so it’s easier to pick him out. So let me just say that the whole group deserves equal praise. They’re doing a crack job in high style.