Frith/Bourne/Oswald Dearness

This live recording from 1998 is a very successful combination of artists: guitarist Fred Frith with cellist Anne Bourne and sax squawker John Oswald. The main set, which composes the bulk of the disc, is about 40 minutes long and impresses throughout. Frith's emphasis on vibrato and delay seems to dictate the kinds of ideas the three of them come up with, and all three are in great form, able to come up with shifting rhythmic ideas and melodic statements to match the implied rhythms of the effects. Oswald shows nice range in his sax playing, sounding plaintive, dirty and angry at the same time. Bourne's cello playing is equal parts full-bore sawing and more delicate passages, where she and Frith duet with Oswald's punctuations. All three mimic each other's ideas with wordless vocalising, and they each display strong improvising skills in this respect. This concert would have been a great show, and this recording has miles of headroom. (Spool)