Friday, February 13, 2015

Guitar Trio E, Goodbye Watson

Bob Gorry, guitarist, conceptualist, composer, the inspiration behind the NHIC (New Haven Improvisers Collective), is many things. He and electric guitarists Jeff Cedrone and Chris Cretella make up Guitar Trio E, a freewheeling DIY offshoot of the larger NHIC. They have an album out that, in the best way, will provoke you into taking a stance. About music, free music, about what it is and where it can go.

Their album Goodbye Watson (NHIC 008) does that by presenting a series of compositional frameworks, one by each member, except Gorry gives us two, and one collective work.

The framework for each varies. It is some compositional melodic-rhythmic series of things around which the trio spins a series of free-collective improvisations. Other than Captain Beefheart or Fripp's League of Crafty Guitarists, there isn't much to compare this music with. It does not use either "free jazz" or "new music-free improv" vocabulary per se but like the larger NHIC has a kind of intuitive language it has forged in the sheer act of creation over time.

The players are capable, have internalized some of the electricity of rock which they give back in distilled form, but beyond that this music is radically divorced from various "schools" out there.

The frameworks set things up and have their own cohesive sensibilities. The improvs are a sort of art brut, a well-developed contemporary take on what you might get if you forget what is expected and after long periods of playing together, develop a unique way.

This one shows how Gorry and company can come up with a sort of local music that continues to grow and get a certain refinement without a lot of the outside world intruding on it.

That's fabulous and can most definitely invigorate. It's at times dissonant or oblivious of typical tone choices expected, but in the process is patterned no less than any "tradition" of avant music has been. It's different!

If you don't know Gorry and company and their work, this is a good place to start, especially if the idea of chamber music for three electric guitars appeals to you. It's an excellent example of where they are coming from!

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