|While John Coltrane and Rashied Ali’s Interstellar Space represents a pinnacle of breakthrough saxophone and percussion dialogue, it certainly doesn’t stand alone. Eddie Prévost, who is renowned for his tenure interrogating skins, metals and the ethics of sound in AMM, has already contributed greatly to that field of inquiry through his work with Lou Gare, Evan Parker and John Butcher; his newest foray onto the exposed turf of duology is as utterly singular as its participants. Alan Wilkinson’s best known for his work with the high-energy Hession-Wilkinson-Fell trio. His discography includes just two duets, both with guitar players, but anyone who can stand up to both Derek Bailey and Stefan Jaworzyn comes out of a large and resource-rich bag.
He is by far the most energy-oriented player to join Prévost in this particular ring, but the latter’s overriding determination to play exactly what the music of the moment requires serves him well here. Despite what I said a moment, ago, don’t get the idea that there’s any sparring going on here; while Wilkinson hits hard on both alto and baritone sax, this is a record where the two men work together, not against each other. Each is respectful of the other’s individuality and ability. Wilkinson does contribute some feral blowing; his unbridled snorts and whinnies on the title track are positively Ayleresque in their dimensions. But Prévost’s contributions take the music to a different place, unstable yet completely assured.
His work in AMM has labeled him a percussionist, and rightly so, but listen to “Supa, Supa;” with its shuffling high-hat and dancing brushes – this is idiomatically aware jazz drumming of a very high order. Some of the best music occurs when they bring things down. On the lengthy and languorous “For Marlene,” baritone first sings quietly and then bubbles while toms rumble; a melody winds and twists whilst discovering itself in empty space. Exquisite.
By Bill Meyer