Coat Cooke/Rainer Wiens

High Wire

By Glen HallWhen two of Canada's master free improvisers get together and get down, for sure it's going to be a high wire act full of danger and possibilities. When West coast saxophonist Coat Cooke and Montreal prepared guitarist Rainer Wiens play, they come ready for adventure, risk-taking and deep listening. "Storm Eye" is replete with swirling tenor saxophone and gamelan-like guitar thrumming ― turbulent, eddying, circular and open-ended. Cooke switches to soprano for "Elevation," his approach getting increasingly dense and dramatic over changing ostinato patterns by Wiens on thumb piano. The piece is free-jazz landed in an African village; its on-first-blush seeming "contradictions" working beautifully. At over ten minutes, it's the longest of the six tracks, and you can tell the twosome were so pleased with how things were going that they didn't want to stop ― good in-the-moment call. No drums? No problem. Wiens creates an alternate-sounding alternative by using hand drumming on his guitar for "Monkey Trails." This is high wire improvising that deserves to be heard.
(Now Orchestra)
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