Artist: Elton Dean, Mark Hewins
Album: Bar Torque
Genre: Modern Creative, Free Improvisation
Quality: mp3, 320 kbps
Bar Torque (24:44)
Merilyn’s Cave (14:21)
Bar Torque, recorded live at the London Jazz Cafe in November 1992, consists of three extended instrumental improvisations between Elton Dean (on saxello and alto sax) and Mark Hewins (on both synth guitar and acoustic guitar). And they were extended, with the title track clocking in at nearly 25 minutes, and the other two falling only a little under the 15-minute mark. They tread the relatively little-traveled path between improvised jazz and new age music, as Hewins particularly teases a formidable array of textures from his instruments. As for his synthetic ones, many listeners attuned to standard notions of what a guitar sounds like would not even identify them as having been played on guitar. Sometimes, indeed, there are fluttering and swooping noises that don’t even fall in the realm of conventional musical notes, although it never gets harsh. The disc’s a little odd in that it’s probably too long and unstructured for fans of mellow jazz and new age music, but too laid-back for many listeners who feed on a diet of hardcore jazz improv.
Review by Richie Unterberger