Lis Wessberg: Yellow Map debut

Initial listens suggested that trombonist Lis Wessberg's Yellow Map was too easy on the ear. But returning to tracks from the album out in October on April Records after earlier listens last week it's clear that there is a lot in the blend. …

Published: 6 Sep 2021. Updated: 12 days.

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Initial listens suggested that trombonist Lis Wessberg's Yellow Map was too easy on the ear. But returning to tracks from the album out in October on April Records after earlier listens last week it's clear that there is a lot in the blend. There's a reggae undertow unveiled eventually on 'Midnights' which is subtle and a fine laconic wooziness characterises 'The Strip,' the latter studded by an appealing groove, the Fender Rhodes and Moog played by Steen Rasmussen not too overdone. Trombone overdubs and a carefully gathered polyphonic spree enhance the core melody. Percussion great Marilyn Mazur guests on balafon on 'Sister M'. That begs to be heard. Being accessible is hard. Wessberg cracks that code.

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Matthew Bourne, Désinances, Sähkö *****

In a blink and you'd miss it conversation with His Tedness Line of Duty actor Adrian Dunbar a few years ago I learnt that Dunbar was a fan of pianist Matthew Bourne. Who knew? Let's hope he gets to hear Désinances because the actor certainly has an …

Published: 5 Sep 2021. Updated: 13 days.

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In a blink and you'd miss it conversation with His Tedness Line of Duty actor Adrian Dunbar a few years ago I learnt that Dunbar was a fan of pianist Matthew Bourne. Who knew? Let's hope he gets to hear Désinances because the actor certainly has an affinity with Bourne's world as witnessed in 2014 in a Dunbar theatre performance of Words and Music, a 1961 Samuel Beckett piece initially written for radio with music by Morton Feldman performed with the great Ian McElhinney and the Crash Ensemble. With Désinances (''deductions'' in French) as a free improviser in some ways Bourne carries on the work not of Feldman but of Keith Tippett through his own vivid prismatic refractions. Released on an obscure Finnish label, the performance is as outstanding as it is deeply personal. Bourne can do fierce anger very well and you get a punkish fury and nihilistic harshness that can be quite thrilling on some of his recordings and in live performance. You also get a lot of oblique serenity, definitely here and intimations of birdsong even (the ultimate music of the universe as a companion) on 'VII'. Recorded between 2019 and 2020 at home in the Yorkshire Dales the joy of the album really begins with a beautiful chord on 'IV' and from thereon in it's like Bourne's own private Köln because you get the same solemnity, grandeur, wisdom, total capture and beyond-genre sense as you do with the Jarrett classic from the 1970s. The dichotomy between consonance and dissonance is alive and present throughout. Every bit as good it all is as Bourne's classic Montauk Variations (2012), the improviser's greatest achievement. SG

Bourne is on the same bill as Run Logan Run, World Sanguine Report and Charlotte Keeffe on Saturday in a pearl of London's east end, St John on Bethnal Green