Monday, February 15, 2021

Juozas Milašius, Tomas Kutavičius, Dalius Naujokaitis and Lithuanian Young Composers Orchestra - Live at Willisau, 1993 (NoBusiness Records, 2020)

This is an unusual an interesting album, a collaboration between Juozas Milašius on guitar, Tomas Kutavičius on piano and Dalius Naujokaitis on drums along side the Lithuanian Young Composers Orchestra: Vytas Labutis on saxophones plus cymbal, clapping, trampling and Vilija Naujokaitienė, Vaidas Urmilevičius and Gintarė Skėrytė on vocal, cymbal, clapping and trampling. The opening track, "String Walker," is an excellent feature for guitarist Milašius as he develops grinding friction sounds on his instrument, picking up speed like a revving motorbike leading to an over amped electric improvised section. Piano enters with vocalizing on "Sailor's Nightmare," adding skittish guitar and percussion; the music tumbles and bounds freely, nearly stopping entirely before adding waves of guitar, with dynamic shifts from heavy darker playing to lighter whimsical moments. Multiple vocalists and saxophone really up the ante in an exciting way with both ensembles truly powered up, and including lengthy percussion interludes. A spare piano outlet shakes free, trading with near tribal percussion, leading to a scouring full group section at warp speed, sounding completely unpredictable. "Play Me" dispenses squalls of harrowing free jazz right from the start, as the saxophone cries and drums thrash, creating a maelstrom that is something to behold. Just when you think it cant get any more intense, the music falls off a cliff, dropping to an unearthly quiet using only the barest of sounds, tones of guitar with peeps and squeals, finishing with the antithesis of the heat that came before. Concluding with "Reflection Nebula," there is a graceful piano opening as group begins to assemble, soft saxophone entering as the drums try to push a little but the tempo remains languid. After a solo piano coda, the group is rewarded with well deserved rapturous applause. This album worked quite well, it was an excellent meeting of the minds between an established trio of veteran jazz musicians and a quartet of up and coming students in the crucible of live performance at a major jazz festival. Everyone acquits themselves well, making for a powerful and continuously surprising collection of music. Live at Willisau, 1993 - NoBusiness Records

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