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Symmetries

Barry Guy

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Album Review

A Barry Guy solo album is not something that pops up regularly. But when the bassist decides to record one, he puts all his care into it and makes sure the record company will do the same. That is most probably why Symmetries came out on his co-owned label, Maya: superb cover artwork by Alan Davie, a sober but classy layout, and beautiful mastering all enhance the listening experience. You already guessed that Symmetries is a treat. Guy has been sounding confident (some would say "mature") for quite some time now. If his style has not changed much over the past decade, his output has remained consistently above average. "Bichrome Terrors" and "Odyssey" explore the depths of the human psyche, giving birth to images that will probably change from one person to another — so no need to point out specifics. "Slow Slam" is a striking piece made of tugging movements between quasi silence and brutal outbursts. The "Seven Fizzles," each a two-minute figure, bring a pause halfway through the album, while renditions of Charles Mingus' "Weird Nightmare" and "Eclipse" have been placed strategically for those who need points of reference — the bassist has preserved all the introspective melancholia of the compositions while also giving them a new, more elemental voice. Guy is a poet: His stunning technique goes by unnoticed, subsumed by the lyrical content and the pure musicality of his playing. By 2002, he probably cannot surprise his fans anymore, but he sure can charm and impress. This album qualifies for both, making it a heartfelt recommendation. ~ François Couture, Rovi

Biography

Born: 22 April 1947 in London, England

Genre: Jazz

Years Active: '70s, '80s, '90s, '00s

The leader of an exciting avant-garde big band called the London Jazz Composers Orchestra beginning in 1970, Barry Guy is one of the top free-form string bassists, able to get a wide variety of unusual sounds out of his instrument. Classically trained, Guy has had simultaneous careers in advanced jazz and contemporary classical music. He was in the Spontaneous Music Ensemble with Trevor Watts and John Stevens (1967-1970), has played in a variety of adventurous small groups (including...
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Symmetries, Barry Guy
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