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Music from Two Basses

Barre Phillips & Dave Holland

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Album Review

Originally released on ECM in 1972, and here reissued on CD in Japan, this historic date features the two British bassists engaged while at the top of their powers, exploring not only tonality and the dynamic and harmonic possibilities that exist between two double basses, but also the expanded notions of how the different players' styles and musical intuitions dovetail, rather than work in opposition. Holland's pizzicato attack is far more languid and lush than Phillips,' whose style is over the top; they approach each encounter as one in which sheer propulsiveness becomes an aesthetic. This does not mean it all feels like extreme free blowing, but more, because of Phillips' edge and his solidly jazz arco approach — Holland's sound has more of the classical in it — the proceedings dance on the knife-edge of communication and noise. They slip around one another in a very aggressive dance, where implements of melody becomes a schema from which to jump into a deliriously moving expanse dynamically. There is simply no bass recording like this one, and over 30 years after its release, it is still a classic, an astonishing look at how intimate and instinctive musical communication can really be.

Biography

Born: October 27, 1934 in San Francisco, CA

Genre: Jazz

Years Active: '60s, '70s, '80s, '90s, '00s

Bassist Barre Phillips is one of a group of expatriate American musicians who have left U.S. shores for greener pastures. In the case of Phillips, the expression can be taken literally. His adopted home is a lovely and very much rural section of southern France, where he has been residing in an old chateau since the early '70s. He has been living in Europe since 1967. Phillips is part of an even more exclusive group of well-improvising musicians who have...
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Music from Two Basses, Barre Phillips
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