Spontaneous Music Ensemble Quintessence

Free improvisation exists at the mercy of those nameless forces and currents of energy that sometimes propel and sometimes stall musicians who try their damnedest to carry on meaningful musical conversations with one another. And when those mysterious powers are in alignment, the results can be utterly spellbinding, and some of these moments are what Quintessence contains. The sessions contained on this double CD are amongst the most legendary in the free improv canon and justifiably so. Despite the amazing rapport and detailed interplay of instruments, registers and sounds, this quintet never performed together before or after. Of the ten tracks, the two that open the set, "Forty Minutes (Part I)” and "Forty Minutes (Part 2),” constitute some of the most cohesive, expressive, miraculous improvisation yet documented. And with an all-star line-up that included Trevor Watts and Evan Parker on soprano saxes, Kent Carter on bass and cello, Derek Bailey on guitar and lynchpin John Stevens on drums, cornet and mouth music, what would you expect, chopped liver? These guys delivered a delirious deluge of sound and space, defying conventions but establishing how this music would be played, even decades later. Quintessence is essential listening. (Emanem)