Barry Guy / London Jazz Composers Orchestra Study II, Stringer

This CD represents a tying-up of loose ends for the now-disbanded LJCO, coupling the previously unreleased Study II with the long out-of-print Stringer. As often with Guy’s work, there’s a sense of multiple structures simultaneously in play: Stringer is at once a balanced four-part structure loosely echoing symphonic form, and a dense network of personal/musical/social connections. Among other things, the piece juxtaposes multiple editions of the Spontaneous Music Ensemble (Stevens, Watts, Parker, Kowald, Wheeler, and Rutherford are all present) and brings it into collision with the Howard Riley Trio (Riley and Oxley are here too). The disc is also notable for Peter Brötzmann’s sole LJCO appearance, effortlessly out shouting the entire 18-piece ensemble. Study II is by contrast one of Guy’s simplest and most mysterious compositions — in Guy’s words: it’s "about breathing, building, opening-up and returning.” Both pieces mark key stylistic turning-points for the LJCO, and, while atypical of its output, are no less enjoyable for that. (Intakt)