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Picture August

Artist: Mick Beck / Stephen Grew
Mick Beck / Stephen Grew - Picture August CD
Label: Bruce's Fingers
Regular Price: $16.95
On Sale For: $6.78 
Year: 1999
Format: CD


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Acoustic wind and piano duets, recorded in a resonant chapel acoustic. Mick Beck's first recording to feature the bassoon.

On his duo session, reedist Mick Beck, best-known as a ferocious tenor saxophonist who has worked with the likes of bassist Simon H. Fell and guitarist Derek Bailey, ups the ante and doubles his reeds by playing bassoon on two numbers. Putting the instrument to uses that its orchestral makers probably never imagined, Beck produces sounds that range from the reverberations of a bull moose's cry to the kazoo-like squeaks of shredding comb-and-tissue paper. Proving he can play those Tubby-the-tuba low notes, the saxophonist mostly lets the instrument's natural echo illuminate the pieces. Meanwhile Grew, who has developed own language of scales and patterns, created music for a dance company and played with saxophonists as different as Lol Coxhill and Andy Sheppard, pretty much goes his own way. Bringing a celeste-like sound to some of his higher keyboard excursions, his steady rolling accompaniment is most prominent on Upflucht. Turbulently squeezing out distorted burrs and smeary spit, Beck attacks the tune with ascending reed trills. The saxophonist's open mouthpiece key pops on A Good Ballad (sic) suggest how an inebriate would sound playing - or spraying - this slack tempo piece. Meanwhile, Grew accompanies him with odd note clusters. Earlier, on Molten Metal, the saxman's collection of growling toots actually gets the pianist to not only go two-fisted on him, but figuratively dig his right hand into the keyboard to create his own trills and some harp-like glissandos. A memorable showing all round. Ken Waxman

Mick Beck (tenor sax, bassoon, recorders); Stephen Grew (piano)
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