I'm getting pretty damn fed up of hearing people say "Oh yes I love AMM.. but I don't like Lou Gare." The late Cornelius Cardew seems to have been placed on an impossibly high pedestal in recent years, notably by Keith Rowe and John Tilbury (who are perched high up on a column themselves, come to think of it), and AMM's heartbeat, percussionist Eddie Prévost, is held in justifiably high esteem, but no-one seems to want to recognise that Gare's tenor saxophone was an important piece of the AMM puzzle between 1965 and 1977. The duo incarnation of AMM with Prévost was a fascinating example of the road not taken, as demonstrated clearly on At The Roundhouse (Anomalous) and To Hear and Back Again (Matchless). 
This set of five leisurely tenor solos was recorded at Prévost's invitation following one of Gare's rare trips up to the smoke last year. His appearance at horn_bill, a concert at London's 291 Gallery on February 9th 2005 featuring a stellar line-up of reedmen – John Butcher, Nat Catchpole, Kai Fagaschinski, Evan Parker and Seymour Wright (who penned the magnificent liners to No Strings Attached) – was released as part of a double CD on Matchless (Matchless 63), and was followed four days later by the first of two sessions recorded a week apart at Firefly Studios, Throwleigh, down in deepest Devon, where Gare relocated in 1977.
Prévost was right to describe his work with Gare in AMM's mid-70s incarnation as "decidedly non-jazz", but there's no denying where Lou Gare is coming from, even if he's arrived at a destination well off jazz's beaten track. Wright is on the ball when he hears distant echoes of Tubby Hayes, Warne Marsh and Lester Young, not to mention Sonny Rollins (to whom Gare dedicates one of these five tracks), but free from the tyranny of the backbeat Gare is free to stretch out in a way no jazz rhythm section would ever allow. It's a classic example of what improvised music does best, namely taking an idea and running with it, following the music into whatever corner it leads. It's the same kind of eternally unravelling logic as a Misha Mengelberg piano solo, but while Mengelberg is well known for reaching the brick wall of boredom and banging away at it until it gives way, Gare manages to backtrack and take another direction so skilfully you don't even realise he's done it. skilfully you don't even realise he's done it. So bloody what if he doesn't care a jot for the arsenal of twitters, flutters, spits and clicks that constitutes today's hip improv saxophone playing. In twenty years this will still sound as inventive and musical (you got a problem with the word "musical"? I haven't). Not just matchless, timeless.
–Dan Warbaton