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Instant compositions live at Sunset in Paris, 2013 from the quartet of Burton Greene on piano & percussion, Alan Silva on synthesizer, Adelhai Bennani on tenor sax, and Chris Henderson on electronic drums, an essential update from a trailblazing band that started in 1964.

Bennani / Silva / Greene / Henderson
Free Form Improvisation Ensemble 2013

Bennani / Silva / Greene / Henderson: Free Form Improvisation Ensemble 2013 (Improvising Beings)

Label: Improvising Beings    
Released in: France    

"If you want to experience the roots of new thing-avant free jazz-avant improvisation, you of course can go back to Ornette Coleman's classic first recordings, early Paul Bley, Cecil Taylor, Albert Ayler's first recordings and . . . the Free-Form Improvisation Ensemble. The latter is no doubt the least known but very important and pathbreaking. The original version of the band (which features Burton Greene and Alan Silva) can be heard in a recording from 1964 (see my review from February 19, 2010 that is astoundingly ahead musically.

Now some 40 years later, we get a new incarnation of the Free Form Improvisation Ensemble 2013 (improvising beings 40, 2-CDs) and it is a fine thing to hear. Back are Burton Greene on piano, Alan Silva on orchestral synthesizer, plus Abdelhai Bennani on tenor (who passed away, sadly, not long ago) and Chris Henderson on electric drums.

With so much time passing, so much music by Greene and Silva happily coming to our ears, one would not expect for this fortuitous reunion that the artists would sound precisely the same as they did then. And of course with Bennani and Henderson in the mix, there are important new voices to contribute as well.

Surely this recording shows us a new, evolved freedom. It is not the same music. But look around you, see how much has changed in our world, so how would we expect seminal free music pioneers to have the same musical outlook? This is nevertheless inspired free music, music of today, and we are all the better for it.

Alan Silva's orchestral synth playing gives the group an expanded harmonic and textural base that pulls the music into new territories imaginatively and adroitly, and Burton Greene responds to that sonic directedness with playing that works excellently well, thematically inspired, fully congruent. The two form a dynamic center that Abdelhai Bennani applies his special tenor phrasings to, sounding perfectly right and in total control over his sound and its place in the whole. Chris Henderson embellishes the totality with a vibrant set of colorations wholly right for the spontaneous events at hand.

Saying all that is not saying enough, though. We get two full CDs of music that expresses a contemporary freedom rich in ideas, filled with very directed music that constitutes not a reworking but rather a culmination of 40 years playing and reflecting.

It is the work of seasoned masters, with brilliance and a richness of invention that rivals any free ensemble out there today for focus, relevance, and the excitement of the now.

This is essential listening for avantists, a treasure of the present-day scene. RIP Andelhai Bennani. Long live Alan Silva, Burton Greene and Chris Henderson!"-Grego Applegate Edwards, Gapplegate

Related Categories of Interest:

Improvised Music
Electro-Acoustic Improv
Quartet Recordings
New in Improvised Music
Recent Releases and Best Sellers

Get additional information at Gapplegate Music Review

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Price: $13.95
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Shipping Weight: 4.00 units

Quantity in Basket: None

Product Information:

UPC: 0635346941030

Label: Improvising Beings
Catalog ID: ib40
Squidco Product Code: 21540

Format: 2 CDs
Condition: New
Released: 2015
Country: France
Packaging: Jewel Case
Recorded live at the Sunset, in Paris, France, on March 19th, 2013, by Agnes Minetto.


Chris Henderson-electronic drums

Burton Greene-piano, percussion

Alan Silva-synthesizer

Abdelhai Bennani-tenor saxophone

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Track Listing:


1. Free Form Composition 1 11:10

2. Free Form Composition 2 5:51

3. Free Form Composition 3 4:23

4. Free Form Composition 4 8:33

5. Free Form Composition 5 9:38

6. Free Form Composition 6 2:44

7. Free Form Composition 7 9:59 CD2

1. Free Form Composition 8 1:09

2. Free Form Composition 9 12:14

3. Free Form Composition 10 11:58

4. Free Form Composition 11 10:11

5. Free Form Composition 12 8:10

6. Free Form Composition 13 5:48