Spontaneous Music Ensemble Bare Essentials

Harvested from a wealth of recordings and painstakingly restored from original cassettes, Bare Essentials features the cream of the improvisatory crop from SME mainstays John Stevens and Trevor Watts. Bare in name only, this mammoth double disc set represents the early, pre-Face to Face duo recordings spanning from September 1972 through to March 1973. Boiling over with a ferocity rare for such a pared-down arrangement — Watts on soprano sax and Stevens on a small drum kit or cornet — yet at times subdued and even hushed, this small sampling of the duo’s body of work encompasses a broad range of emotion. "For Phil,” recorded the same day that legendary drummer Phil Seamen passed away, mirrors the stages of loss, from denial through to acceptance. The seven versions of "Open Flower” prove that there are many paths that one can travel from a point of origin. This collection, though far from being bare, is truly essential. (Emanem)