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Improv 04


Gary Smith/John Stevens


Gary Smith: elec. guitar

John Stevens: perc., mini-trumpet


Seven nimble cuts from two Brits new to me. (Of course they’re new to me- why else you think I write these things?) Smith is a subtle worker of guitar soundings, a John Abercrombie descendant (that guy really has cast a long shadow) who’d make the master proud. But he doesn’t come as close to traditional harmonies, or tunes for that matter, as Abercrombie does. He carries this off well. Stevens has a similarly elliptical and gnomic approach. This is, then, minimalist post-jazz. Minimal in the sense that it eschews big statements. Or even easily recognizable statements. If you like Abercrombie’s duets work, and have speculated about him going into more outside and abstract territory, this is your ticket there. It’s bracing, high-density music.

Richard Grooms


Ecstatic Peace
Dist. by Forced Exposure
PO Box 9102
Waltham, Mass. 02254