Eddie Prevost & Alan Wilkinson: So Are We, So Are We (2007)
Percussionist Eddie Prevost has maintained a musical career for forty years now, and in that time he has worked the rich seam of free improvisation with single-minded authority. The temptation of comparing this duo with saxophonist Alan Wilkinson to Prevost's earlier work with the vastly underrated Lou Gare is great but to be resisted; not least because there's clearly a very different dynamic at work here.
That fact is testament to how expansive this music can be, and how deeply it's subject to the musical characters of individuals. On the ten minutes of "For Marlene" this is abundantly obvious. Both musicians are so attuned to each other that the peaks and troughs of the music could have sprung just as easily from overt planning; being of the moment makes it all the more remarkable, especially as Prevost in particular shows how alert he is to the potentials of light and shade.
On alto sax Wilkinson seems to have next to nothing in the way of overt influences and this is particularly evident on "Supa, Supa." He's capable of an exceptionally wide timbral range and the fact that this is allied with a dry, slightly acidic tone only makes his work more remarkable. Both musicians positively flaunt the sharpness of their responsive capacities. The result is an object lesson in how this music can be informed by jazz whilst it is of course, an outgrowth of long established jazz practices. The relatively quaint notion of soloist plus accompaniment is some kind of anathema to what's going down here.
"On Green Street" opens the disc as a relatively unrestrained affair, but this doesn't alter the fact that fearsome musical intelligence underscores both musicians' input. On alto sax here again, Wilkinson shows a certain tangential affinity with Mike Osborne at his most heated, as he was in his trio with Harry Miller and Louis Moholo. Again the fractious nature of his work is entirely his own, just as Prevost's skill at both providing momentum and suspending time is his. It's at times like this that the listener gets to realize just how possible it is for a percussionist to bring his or her own personality to bear on their instrument of choice.
It's debatable whether or not the term organic is overused in music criticism, but it's pertinent on this album, especially in view of the fact that the music is so profoundly democratic. In an ideal world the negation of the ego, which is hardly something common in these early years of the twenty first century, would always sound as creative as it does here.
Track Listing: On Green Street; East East East London; Supa Supa; For Marlene; So Are We, So Are We.
Personnel: Eddie Prevost: drums; Alan Wilkinson: alto and baritone saxes.