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Trio & Triangle by Spontaneous Music Ensemble & Orchestra

Producer Martin Davidson’s interesting liner notes detail the Spontaneous Music Ensemble’s post 1976 change in direction and the events surrounding these tracks that have been lifted from the vaults. The first three works of the program "Triangle," "Reciprocal" and "A fragment of STATIC," were recorded live in 1981 at a London venue, and initially released in 1982 on LP. However, the final two tracks "Newcastle 78A" and "Newcastle 78B" were never previously available until now amid Davidson’s audio cleanup. Nonetheless, "Triangle" is a captivating improvisation, which is constructed upon three musicians sitting in a triangle. Davidson elaborates by stating, that two other musicians form "a stereo pair, and using their own instrument somewhat unconsciously as a sound source for the other two to listen to." Nine musicians in total perform on this piece that sounds as though the group is spinning a yarn via contrapuntal variances in pitch. Think of a jagged loop that is continuously dissected and regenerated.

On "Reciprocal," percussionist and founding father of SME, John Stevens and violinist Nigel Coombes rough it up a bit during their interweaving, multihued dialogues. And with "A fragment of STATIC," soprano saxophonists, Lol Cohxill and Trevor Watts create liquefying effects with elements of pathos due to weeping extended note lines.

The piece titled"Newcastle 78B," communicates a loose rhythmic structure, where Coombes’ staccato phrasings, guitarist Roger Smith’s contrasting chord voicings and Stevens’ smack, dab percussion patterns spawn a loose, asymmetrical pulse. Here, the musicians take you on a bumpy and rather sinewy course, enamored with somber undertones and spiking crescendos, all topped off by Stevens’ howling trumpet lines. Sure enough, this 2008 release intimates a wide panorama of emotive group-based interaction, which in part, symbolizes the historical relevance of the British free-improvisation genre.

Additional Info

  • Artist / Group Name: Spontaneous Music Ensemble & Orchestra
  • CD Title: Trio & Triangle
  • Genre: Free Jazz / Avante Garde
  • Year Released: 2008
  • Record Label: EMANEM
  • Rating: Four Stars
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