Listening closely to the duo of Elliott Sharp and Scott Fields one can hear a compact history of modern composition and improvisation. Although the duo has a sound all its own, under the surface you can sense traces of “New Music,” minimalism, free jazz, and blues. For this duo, the two composer-instrumentalists focuses on the interactions of two acoustic guitars, the pure unprocessed sound of metal strings shaking wood. This is intimate music. The CD was recorded live to tape in a small room with the two musicians facing each other. Both of the musicians have long been interested in composition, improvisation, and borders between them. That’s why, without discussing “rules” for the project, Sharp and Fields each packed their compositions for the duo with a mixture or conventional notation, graphic notation, and structures for improvisation.
Composer, multi-instrumentalist, and sound-artist Sharp has central to the experimental music scene in New York City for more than thirty years. He has released more than 200 recordings spanning the musical spectrum. He pioneered ways of applying fractal geometry, chaos theory, and genetic metaphors to musical composition and interaction as well as pioneering use of computers in live improvisation. His compositions have been performed by the RadioSinfonie Frankfurt, Ensemble Modern, Ensemble Rezonanz, Kronos Quartet, and Zeitkratzer. His “Quarks Swim Free” premiered at the Venice Biennale in September 2003 and his chamber opera “EmPyre” premiered at the 2006 Biennale.
Scott Fields was born in Chicago in the early 1950s. As a teenager he played guitar, sang, and wrote songs for rock and blues bands. In 1969 Fields formed the trio “Life Rhythms,” which was certainly the loudest avant-jazz group in Chicago at the time and it performed most often at rock venues and festivals. In addition to guitar, in this group Fields played tenor and soprano saxophone, flute, clarinet, and sundry percussion. Soon after that time, however, Fields stopped performing. In 1989 Fields began working as a musician again. Since then Fields has toured throughout North America, Europe, and Asia. He has released 18 CDs as a leader or co-leader and has been a sideman on many other recordings. He has been commissioned by the Milwaukee Improvisers Orchestra, Kanopy Dance, Li Chiao-Ping Dance, the Wisconsin Alliance for Composers, Yoshiko Kanda, Douglas Rosenburg, Arno Oehri, and the Köln Musiktriennale.