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Point of Departure

The free jazz comparison applies best in All But, which is the second in Eddie Prevost's Meetings with Remarkable Saxophonists series. As with the other two (one with Evan Parker, the other with Jason Yarde), the configuration is the classic sax-bass-drums trio and Prevost embraces it with gusto. His playing here is as dynamic as his work with AMM but the starting point, volume-wise, is quiet different; he gets quiet, but rarely silent. Above all, he's playing drums! And play he does, pushing the music forward, opening avenues for the other players, and making them sound damned good, just the way a drummer should. Viltard, until now an unknown to me, seems to understand Prevost's intentions quite well; he constructs load-bearing structures within whatever rhythmic or energy system the drummer generates, rarely drawing attention to himself, but always making the music feel more solid. Butcher steps forward, never playing like Sonny did, but towering nonetheless. He has an instinct for complementarity and balance that he can't forsake, but he also knows when the door is being held open, and he steps through Prevost's openings without hesitation, shooting laser beam high frequencies and spiraling, lengthy ribbons that dart with the unpredictability of a swallow banking inside a dust devil. Without compromising his essential self, he contributes to the unstoppable victory of this lively and swinging music.

Bill Meyer Signal to Noise, [partial review] May 2013