All Told is a clever title. It’s a tidy summation of the nature of free improvisation: in performance, nothing’s hidden—all is there. Usually, recordings allow musicians an opportunity to edit, to tidy up some of life’s “accompanying messiness,” as Eddie Prévost muses. Still, many improvisers don’t drastically edit, do multiple takes, or otherwise attempt to neaten things. In a way, it would defeat the purpose of the undertaking. Freely improvising is about chasing down an ideal, that of the singular musical experience.
During its four year existence from 1988, Free Jazz Quartet released only one CD, Premonitions, so the previously unreleased Memories for the Future, recorded in 1992 at a concert in Bristol, doubles their output. The moniker Free Jazz Quartet seems to set the group — Paul Rutherford (trombone), Harrison Smith (tenor and soprano saxes, bass clarinet), Tony Moore (cello) and Eddie Prévost (drums) — apart from self-conscious, 'non-idiomatic' free improvisation.
Free Jazz Quartet – Memories for the Future
The future is a concept laden with paradox. A certain lazy rhetoric plays with the contradictions, giving us Back to the Future, ‘nostalgia for the future’, or more promisingly A Future for the Past, or Lincoln Steffens’ famous comment when he went to the new-fledged Russia and declared that he had seen the future working. In practice, the future is never seeable, other than in imagination. By the same token, memory is not real, but merely scattered printouts of experience, selective, hoarded, consoling or self-serving.
Strange but true: Schlippenbach and drummer Eddie Prévost had never played together before the 2008 UK concerts that yielded Blackheath. The arch egalitarian procedure of equally dividing a program between respective solos and a culminating duo gives the pianist another opportunity in his album-opening solo to further detail his sensibility’s fusing of serial variations and advanced jazz.
While John Coltrane and Rashied Ali's Interstellar Space represents a pinnacle of breakthrough saxophone and percussion dialogue, it certainly doesn't stand alone. Eddie Prévost, who is renowned for his tenure interrogating skins, metals and the ethics of sound in AMM, has already contributed greatly to that field of inquiry through his work with Lou Gare, Evan Parker and John Butcher; his newest foray onto the exposed turf of duology is as utterly singular as its participants. Alan Wilkinson's best known for his work with the high-energy Hession-Wilkinson-Fell trio.