The Runcible Quintet

Reviews of 'Four', FMRCD489-0618, recorded 2017/18

Runcible - Four
Five by the (mostly English) Runcible Quintet on FMR (discussed here in May 2017) is an album that I had particularly enjoyed not only for its masterful (chamber improvisation) technique, but its cultivated sense of five-way interaction. In some ways, it seemed to be "one of many" albums out of the strong London improvisation scene, employing a global palette of sounds & evocations, and indeed in retrospect, perhaps it developed more tentatively than some.
That said, a followup has now appeared — recorded 18 & 23 months later — in Four, and what were perhaps more exploratory interactions have become that much more powerful: However, as the title might already suggest, Four actually opens with a quartet session (minus bassist John Edwards) from late last year, followed by another quintet session (with the same full ensemble) from this past March: Both are about a half hour in length,
meaning that Four basically consists of two (relatively) short albums.Returning to a discussion of Five, of course I was familiar with Edwards, and I had already admired guitarist Daniel Thompson (in e.g.Hunt at the Brook & related projects), as well as
some complementary material from flautist Neil Metcalfe, but was not yet familiar with
drummer Marcello Magliocchi or saxophonist Adrian Northover. As also mentioned at the time, I first enjoyed Five as a sort of "flute trio" album (& I often enjoy flute in improvised music, including for its pan-native evocations...), and then came to appreciate the sorts of interventions & commentary that Northover & Thompson were making as well, as integrated in large part by Magliocchi — whose drumming style I've continued to enjoy, including for its sometimes almost minimalist accents & repetitions. (Subsequently, I was also quite taken with Ag, the trio album from Northover & Thompson with Steve Noble, and their contributions have come to seem that much more distinctive since....)
However, the quartet session that opens Four — with a long track, and then a much shorter followup track — precludes focusing on a "flute trio," due to the absence of bass: Guitar fills a similar role at times (as it had, often shadowing Edwards, on Five), but the quartet tends to break more into two duos than interlocking trios (both around drums). Nonetheless, after a relatively austere opening around flute, there is a wide range of energetic interaction & exploration, making for a very compelling track (evoking & incorporating globalized styles into a sometimes mysterious mélange), with a new
brightness to the sound in the absence of bass. (The flute & drums duo also seems to
profit from a more "direct" interaction.) The short followup opens with a brief guitar solo, into a curiously intricate machinic assemblage.... Of course, Edwards is the player who most attracted my attention in the first place, and his absence makes for an interesting
revision to the ensemble, but one needn't dwell on such absence for long, as the next two tracks (of relatively equal length) employ the full quintet again — while often retaining the group's new brightness.The bass makes its presence known instantly, however, and often appears (once again) at the center of activity — including some "flute trio" moments, particularly on the last track, which also features an unusual (for this group anyway) solo from Northover. (Indeed there are more solos here than on Five, and more reed, but there is basically more of everything, due to the increased length,pace,comfort....) Another aspect that I just promised to address is "use," and so what is the use of this album? (What's the use of a runcible spoon? To eat mince & quince, evidently....) First, I enjoy the wonderful collective interaction, which seems like a typical response, but I also hear it as stimulating other creativity in turn, and have
generally foundlistening to Runcible Quintet to be a helpful (& often calming)
experience when considering written forms, next steps, etc.: It evokes a timeless quality, but not through a lack of activity or drive... and the spaciousness of the result seems to leave plenty of room for my own ideas as well. (It's also a great, generally non-soloistic
tour-de-force for flute, something that can't be said every day. Indeed, Four might already be my favorite "flute album.") And despite some potential awkwardness involved in
combining two different sessions, including the quartet, and despite this followup being so recent, Four is simply a great album. Circumstances made me wary, but the result is very satisfying... "ideality" can obviously be an enemy to recordings of improvised music, but this one captures something special, including that Runcible is one of the most
compelling improvising collectives working today.

10 October 2018

Todd McComb's Jazz Thoughts
http://www.medieval.org/music/jazz/

Vroeger noemden we het wel enigszins misprijzend piepknormuziek, maar je muzikale smaak groeit en verbetert, en je raakt gewend aan verschillende muzikale talen, en nu ben ik redelijk verzot op goede free jazz, zeker als hij gespeeld wordt door virtuoze musici die erg goed naar elkaar kunnen luisteren en die samen muzikaal op avontuur gaan op onverwachte manieren.Dat geldt zeker voor het Runcible Quintet, waarin alle vijf de leden een even grote rol spelen, dus niet alleen fluitspeler Neil Metcalfe en saxofonist Adrian Northover, maar zeker ook drummer Marcello Magliocchi, gitarist Daniel Thompson en contrabassist John Edwards, die op dit album, Four, overigens alleen op twee van de vier improvisaties meespeelt. Nortover en Edwards kennen we overigens ook al van de Remote Viewers, ook al zo’n mooie avontuurlijke Britse jazzband.De improvisatorisch ontstane composities op Four hebben simpelweg de titels one, two, three en four meegekregen en duren samen een uur. Ik laat maar een paar korte fragmenten horen uit elk stuk, maar luister bijvoorbeeld eens naar het begin van three – ik zit dan meteen al op het puntje van mijn stoel, moet ik je bekennen. En dat geldt eigenlijk voor deze hele cd, die, als je hem op de achtergrond zou draaien, wellicht als chaotisch zou kunnen overkomen. Je moet er wel even voor gaan zitten en aandachtig luisteren, en dan blijkt het ongelofelijk spannende, subtiele, geraffineerde muziek te zijn. Adembenemend mooi, durf ik zelfs te zeggen. Voor avontuurlijke muziekliefhebbers.

We used to call it somewhat disfiguring squeaky music, but your musical taste grows and improves, and you get used to different musical languages, and now I'm pretty fond of good free jazz, especially when played by virtuoso musicians who are very good at each other. being able to listen and who go on a musical adventure together in unexpected ways.
This certainly applies to the Runcible Quintet, in which all five members play an equal role, not only flute player Neil Metcalfe and saxophonist Adrian Northover, but also drummer Marcello Magliocchi, guitarist Daniel Thompson and double bass player John Edwards, who on this album, Four, incidentally, only plays on two of the four improvisations. We already know Nortover and Edwards from the Remote Viewers, even though such a beautiful adventurous British jazz band.
The improvised compositions on Four have simply been given the titles one, two, three and four and last together for an hour. I only let you hear a few short fragments from each piece, but listen to the beginning of three for example - I'm already sitting on the edge of my chair, I have to confess. And that actually applies to this entire CD, which, if you run it in the background, might come across as chaotic. You have to sit down and listen carefully, and then it turns out to be incredibly exciting, subtle, refined music. Breathtakingly beautiful, I even dare to say. For adventurous music lovers.
Holly Moors
moorsmagazine@gmail.com
https://www.moorsmagazine.com/muziek/jazz-blues/the-runcible-quintet-four/

 

We start the adventure with the quartet with the quiet passages of Metcalfe's flute, a musician who incidentally played in the SME at the end of his noble history. The soprano saxophone, bright percussion and filigree guitar are also great for this puzzle. According to the unwritten rules of the genre, creative call & response, made thanks to excellent communication in the team. Small sounds, short phrases. The narrative thickens from time to time, usually under the dictation of Magliocchi. Each of the musicians uses a very extensive range of ways to articulate sounds, and all improvisation is subject to constant changes. Calmness, prudence, suppression of emotions and counterbalance - miniatures in a gallop. The musicians are beautifully knotted, and then they quickly unravel. In the 13th minute, a perfect bird and saxophone dialogue with a large dose of imitation. In the 17th minute a small sonorist competition - tug of war, metal rubbing on the strings. And then again a short gallop. 20 minutes - silence for a fraction of a second, and then again dialogue between Adrian and Neil. In the commentary, the power of acoustic beauties by Marcello and Daniel. For the finale of the quartet part, a 5 minute encore - guitar intro, evoking the spirit of Derek Bailey. Right after him, a collective, calm, precisely constructed story. A high soprano, still looking for flute attire. A lot of good on the plates and the final commentary of the saxophone on hand with the flute. Half a year passes, The Runcible returns to IKLECTIC, already with John Edward. We start from the level of silence, with the noise of the tube, small ornaments on the plates and the bow hooked on the double bass. Also a small guitar and flute that comes into play with some delay. Edwards stands in the middle of the stage and has the resolve that much during this concert will happen with his permission, as a result of his apt (pre-war cases) dramatic decisions. The strong timbre of his stringer proves that the quintet is more than just a quartet! When we are silent for a moment, we get a beautiful dialogue of the flute and guitar as a gift. The taste of ala SME's improvisation is again felt in the air! Again, the narrative mode is constantly changing. In 8 minute sensual call & responce, with the participation of double bass, guitar and percussion, then saxophone, double bass and flute. And in the background a brilliant drummer, he watches and watches the sequence of actions. John Stevens can be proud! For the finale, a quick tug of war, a rhythmic guitar accent and a highly suspended saxophone! Bravo! The second quintet episode begins Marcello with a humble introduction. First talk of the flute and saxophone, and after them the entrance of the dragon, or double bass, which leads the march of free improvisation. Central signal for a gallop in 3 minutes! Great imitations in the subgroup guitar - drums - double bass, and in the background the beauty of woodwinds. A great moment! On the reverberation of a mantra guitar and a low bow on the double bass fretboard. 8 minutes - a kind of polyphonic passage (how they feel great in their company!). In the 12th minute, the extended, solo soprano display, under which impeccably impatient percussion is connected. What a duo! After a while, the trio, because the double bass came. And final braking! Small sounds and an unusual, dry flute! What a game!

Trybuna Muzyki Spontanicznej

https://spontaneousmusictribune.blogspot.com

The Runcible Quintet Four: John Edwards Marcello Magliocchi Neil Metcalfe Adrian Daniel Thompson Northover FMR CD489-0618
Why do these improvisers work together? It is sometimes a question that one asks oneself without being certain of finding a valid answer, because the ways of this freely improvised music are sometimes - often impenetrable, even for its practitioners. Experience, background, references, studies, self-taught, friendship etc ... John Edwards and Adrian Northover played for a long time in the B-Shop for The Poor group (with David Petts in the 80s and 90s) long before John emerged as a double bass player with Evan Parker, Coxhill, Butcher, Lovens, etc. They are recently in Remote Viewers with David Petts, the band's composer. Neil Metcalfe, a webernian jazz flutist and one of Paul Dunmall's favorite musicians, one of the greatest living saxophonists, has a close relationship with acoustic guitarist Daniel Thompson. Adrian, who played extensively with Daniel, is a saxophonist from jazz (John E plays in his projects) is passionate about polytonality with his soprano saxophone. Neil Metcalfe and he realized that their appetite for microtonality (minimal and precise alterations of note intervals creating "new" scales) converged on real synergy. Neil and Adrian sat a few dozen centimeters from Lol Coxhill in the London Improvisers Orchestra for a decade and this was undoubtedly an influence. Neil's instrument, a baroque flute, makes it possible to modify the pitch of the notes very slightly, creating the special aura of his immediately recognizable melodic improvisations inspired by dodecaphonism. Adrian Northover is therefore very concerned by the subtle sensitivity of the flutist. In search of collaborators at the height of his talent and especially a percussionist, chance put Marcello Magliocchi on his way, a professional jazz drummer and high-flying improviser, Pugliese living near Bari in the heel of the boot Italian. Once the cream of the London drummers set their sights on some essential saxophonist comrades, it becomes complicated and illusory for someone as talented (modern jazz, Mingus, Monk, Konitz or Desmond have little secrets for Adrian and he blows regularly with traditional musicians from North India or Turkey).Mark Sanders plays with Dunmall, Parker, Butcher etc ... Steve Noble played with Coxhill and Simon Rose, and plays with Alan Wilkinson, Brôtzmann, Parker and Roger Turner with Urs Leimgruber. And so Northover's encounter with percussionist Marcello Magliocchi in 2015 was a boon for all of them. Mixed drummer with the most diversified rhythms, MM is the companion of Roberto Ottaviano since the 70's. He has long played in the tours of Enrico Rava, and these Italian pianists in solid gold, Franco D'Andrea, Enrico Pieranunzi and Stefano Bollani in Southern Italy from festivals in prestigious concerts. We heard him with Steve Lacy (he was 19 years old), Mal Waldron, William Parker. Marcello has developed an ability to improvise freely using his drumming skills, a lot of logic and his imaginative sensibility. We think of the approach of Paul Lovens or Martin Blume. The sound parameters and the geography of the drums are altered, turned upside down and in perpetual motion. A bass drum the size of an average tom, a miniature hi-hat, a rectangular cymbal created by UFIP and original accessories. His gestures integrated in the least of his intentions immediately impose. A proliferation of metallic sounds and delicate cracklings, of millimetric and asymmetrical strikes, dampened, finely accentuated, alternating accelerations and slowdowns of their frequencies - beats in magic incurvations. In this underbrush rustling with elusive wisps, the spurs of Daniel Thompson's strings and his pointillist timbres escaping from any guitar logic in the wild and surprisingly controlled flow of the Runcible Quintet, translate on his guitar the Magliochian unreason. and creates a paradox with the power of the overpowering fingers on the key of the masterful John Edwards, one of the most physical and least referential contrabassists compared to all his illustrious colleagues who make the instrument's glory in the universe of the free improvisation. The Italian drummer's all-out gestures are driven by an infallible sense of rhythm and pulsation. This innate quality acquired by the work of a lifetime this disposition of the heart speaks to that of the contrabassist who is as big as that. Moreover, John Edwards plays only in pieces 3 and 4 opening by his absence a field to the sagacity of Daniel Thompson. Among these five, there is an obstinacy to get back to work without faltering and assuming their choice. This playful quintet is a challenge and a poetic sharing of sounds and musical phrases that undoubtedly refer to the ideal hunted down by John Stevens and the Spontaneous Music Ensemble. To listen very loudly to the headphones, their volume being far from excessive, insect music oblige). Wanting to play five free music multiplies the problems of arranging sounds, textures, impulses and parasitic details of the game of one or the other. How to agree in a five-way conversation where the common denominator narrows according to different personalities and inevitable divergences? The individual discourse is dependent on the critical mass of the collective, but in the infinite waves and jolts, one discovers crazy perspectives. Instrumental formulas in duo or trio would allow everyone a greater readability that would illuminate their individual knowledge to sanctify the talent of each "soloist". But with these five and their faith as a coalman, the game is worth the effort. Let's burn a candle in St. Thomas ... on the altar of free music!

Jean - Michel Van Schouwburg

https://orynx-improvandsounds.blogspot.com/2018/12/runcible-quintet-john-edwards-marcello.html

“Four” is the newest release of United Kingdom label “FMR Records”.
Album was recorded by “The Runcible Quintet” – it’s formed by great Musicians of “London Improvisers Orchestra”. Here together play John Edwards (double bass), Daniel Thompson (acoustic guitar), Marcello Magliocchi (drums), Neil Metcalfe (flute) and Adrian Northover (soprano saxophone). Five great musicians are mprovising just marvelous – they combine together independent playing style, unique sound, engaging improvising and the basics of avant-garde jazz. They manage to fuse together the roots of avant-garde jazz and the newest tendencies and innovations of contemporary experimental jazz. That comes very naturally and organically for them – musicians find the most suitable and expressive way to connect contrasting concepts in one musical pattern. Drive, passion, modern and engaging expression, charming melodies and thrilling solos – these are the main elements of improvisations. Musicians bravely take on noisy, roaring and vibrant adventures, extract special effects, unusual timbres and innovative ways of playing. All that makes an effort to bright, enchating and colorful sound.
“Four” has remarkable and innovative sound. It’s based on freeimprovisation, which is the main element of all compositions. The music is based on main elements of avant-garde jazz. Sound experiments, innovative instrumentation, expansion of technical abilities, fresh, crazy and wild musical decisions, spontaneous changes and turns really make a huge effort to whole musical pattern. The music is filled with charming, passionate and engaging mood. The pattern is multi-layed, has wide spectre of colorsm, tunes and moods. It’s gently illustrated with colorful, gorgeous and ornamented facture, polyphony, polyrhythmy and many other similar elements. Whole musical pattern, form and structure is created together by all five musicians. Each of them brings something new and fresh – evocative ideas, noisy solos, roaring and tremendous culminations or simply weird and strange extract. All that makes an effort to innovative, expressive and interesting sound of album. The basic sof avant-garde jazz are related with other music genres and styles. Crazy, wild, furious and sharp solos with complicated rhythms and nervous, drmatic and disonance harmony bring the intonations of bebop, post bop and other modern jazz styles. There are many intonations of experimental music and academic avant-garde. Innovative ways of playing, experimental musical language, production of unusual sounds and timbres – these and many other things are related to contemporary academical and experimental music. The music is organic, dynamic and polystylistic – it’s a gorgeous, charming and modern example, beautifully constructed from many different and absolutely uncompairable principes, contrasts and styles. Each musician of the quintet has the right to improvise spontaneously and free – their music isn’t based on strict frames or forms. It always has free structure and open form – these two compounds lead to organic, charming, driving and touching improvising. Music is changing all the time. It never rests the same – dozens of colors, timbres and rhythms are connected together. Musicians are experimenting in various sections – they search for unusual timbres, colorful and weird expressions, make astonishing and spontaneous combos, exotic stylistic or instrumental pairs, abstract pieces or silent excerpts. Most part of iprovisations isn’t arranged or composed earlier – it’s created right in the spot, on the moment of playing. Charming, expressive and dizzy saxophone’s solos gently go along with vibrant blow outs, organic, modern and passionate guitar, subtle bass, energetic and tremendous drums, gentle, light, peaceful and simply gorgeous flute. All instruments lead the individual melodies, who finally are connected to one great, passionate, rich and expressive melodic section. Dozens of strange timbres, weird sounds, shrieky noises, turbulent culminations, charming, innovative and driving instrumentation, enchanting and impressive passages, subtle tunes or monotonic, deep and stable bass line – all these elements also are in important part of musical pattern. Ornaments, passages, abbreviations, glissando, arpeggio or strict staccato are gently combined together with numerous of colorful, experimental and bright instrumentation decisions. Musicians are improvising passionately, with drive, energy, wild thrills, vibrant and turbulent spills of energy – their music has touching, moving and innovative sound.
https://www.blogarama.com/music-blogs/1286590-avant-scena-blog/28017080-runcible-quintet-four-fmr-2018

Avant Scena

Reviews of 'Five', FMRCD437-0217, recorded April 2016.

The Runcible Quintet: Five (FMR). Recorded live in April at the Iklectik club in Lambeth, this is music in the tradition of the Karyobin-era Spontaneous Music Ensemble, which means that Neil Metcalfe (flute), Adrian Northover (soprano saxophone), Daniel Thompson (acoustic guitar), John Edwards (bass) and Marcello Magliocchi (drums) require sharp ears, focused empathy, fast reflexes and a command of extended instrumental techniques. It’s funny to think that this tradition is only two or three years younger those heavily referenced in some of the preceding records, but in such capable hands as these it retains its ability to startle and provoke. Edwards, as always, is staggering.
https://thebluemoment.com/2017/06/23/jazz-in-britain-part-1/

 

A British quintet that improvises nicely. I know that some people get very nervous about this music, but after a minute I'm sitting on the tip of my chair, because here are five musicians busy listening extremely well to each other, and who are able to know incredibly exciting music in a very subtle and sophisticated way.
John Edwards on bass, Marcello Magliocchi on drums, Neil Metcalfe on flute, Daniel Thompson on acoustic guitar and Adrian Northover on soprano saxophone. Northover and Edwards we already know about The Remote Viewers, even such a fancy musical company, but The Runcible Quintet just gives you less attention. Five improvisations, five unheard of exciting pieces of music that you mainly listen to
Open mouth to listen to. Just go listening so. If the clips appeal to you, you absolutely need to purchase the album.

Holly Moors
www.moorsmagazine.com

 

In THE RUNCIBLE QUINTET, named after the 'runcible spoon' that Edward Lear has rhymed with 'light of the moon', one meets with John Edwards on the bass and Adrian Northover on the soprano sax, two good acquaintances with divided whimsicality in B-Shops For The Poor and The Remote Viewers. A ruthless debut under the citation of Marcello Magliocchi (long-time companion of Gianni Lenoci and Carlo Actisdata) on the drums, Neil Metcalfe (London Improvisers Orchestra and already FMP-tested with Paul Dunmall) on the flute and Daniel Thompson on acoustic guitar Five (FMRCD437). They give you a quince, of course, and stretch the runziblen hat so far, until the mollusks and the owl mutter fit underneath. Edwards saw bong trees. Thompson tingles and glitters and twists bridal wreaths of barbed wire. Northover and Metcalfe bellow, trill, and flutty so capriciously, that so much brittleness fades before so much British spleen. Magliocchi bursts as a percussive mire and daring pirate to the elbows in kinker lumps and crown jewels. There must be the matching ring. The soprano howls and flogs without taking breath, flutes the flute and does the same again, Edwards also saw Magliocchi's sticks, if he does not pull them away quickly enough (and his wooden leg). But the man from Bari, apparently a Biedermann, is so damn fast, that even Thompson, the youngster of the ants, does not overreach himself. But all five twirls around / Till they sink underground ...

Rigo Dittmann – Bad Alchemy 94

 

 

THE RUNCIBLE QUINTET with NEIL METCALFE / ADRIAN NORTHOVER / DANIEL THOMPSON / JOHN EDWARDS / MARCELLO MAGLIOCCHI - Five (FMR 437; UK) The Runcible Quintet features Daniel Thompson on acoustic guitar, Neil Metcalfe on flute, Adrian Northover on soprano sax, John Edwards on double bass and Marcello Magliocchi on drums. I recognize most of the members of the Runcible Quintet from previous sessions like: Neil Metcalfe (for Paul Dunmall, Olie Brice & SME), Daniel Thompson (Alex Ward, Francois Carrier & Michel Lambert) and Jphn Edwards from way too many sessions (100 ) to name here: Evan Parker, Lol Coxhill & Decoy). It turns out that drummer Marcello Magliocchi can be found on at least a half dozen discs from: William Parker, Joelle Leandre and Steve Potts. Even Adrian Northover can be found with the Remote Viewers and DHA. This is a marvelous mixed quintet with folks older and younger, all seasoned improvisers with varied backgrounds. This was recorded at Iklectic, a studio recording from the way it sounds, superbly balanced and close mic’d. All instruments are acoustic and the blend is quite right. From insect music to UK free improv, both inside and outside of the tradition established by the founders of SME and Company. The flute and soprano sax often move in similar ways, notes carefully bent together and around one another. When the quintet finally hit their stride, the energy erupts in spurts which are focused and intense and then calming down to a more hypnotic dream-like state. Another jewel from the FMR gault. - Bruce Lee Gallanter, DMGS

The Runcible Quintet (Adrian Northover al soprano, Daniel Thompson alla chitarra acustica, i non presenti al festival John Edwards al contrab. e Neil Metcalfe al flauto) + la percussione di Magliocchi. "Five" privilegia strutture molecolari, dove la decostruzione del mozzare i suoni dal canale d'aria, tirare le corde o sfrondare piatti con archetti è una chiave per portarvi in territori vergine e sconosciuti ai più, paesaggi del dialogo in cui mai vi sognereste di entrare. Si ricreano quei poteri dell'improvvisazione che è pratica di vita, in cui si aprono porte cigolanti, si osservano oggetti appartandosi, si percepiscono relazioni o percorsi da effettuare (la traccia Two e Four sono particolarmente esplicative al riguardo). Un ambiente a tratti persino bucolico (alcune parti della traccia 3) con tutti i musicisti che istantaneamente si coordinano allo stesso scopo. Un'arte artigianale immensa a cui Magliocchi e i suoi partners europei non hanno mai smesso di infondere importanza.
http://ettoregarzia.blogspot.co.uk/2017/05/clockstop-festival-dellimprovvisazione.html

It took me a little while to warm up to Five by the fancifully named Runcible Quintet, not that I didn't find it enjoyable, but because it's not really the sort of album that seizes one's attention with anything flashy or aggressive. Its various ensemble interactions & resulting polyphonic tapestry reward close attention to their sometimes subtle articulations, but Five has also been a very enjoyable album in a more "distant" sense: It's really helped me pull my mind together with a calm focus, on more than one occasion now. So in that sense, the music "works" — at least on me. Before getting to some details of the quintet & album, this outcome- or "use"-based approach both complements & challenges some of the basic notions I see about how free improvisation (or other styles tangentially related to free jazz) might be "too intellectual" & so lack an emotional component. (One sees this often enough in public discussion of contemporary "classical" music as well.) What such criticism tends to mean is that listeners want to hear a specifically identifiable emotion being expressed by the musicians themselves. What I'm talking about is more how I'm feeling after listening — perhaps because of a specific emotion being expressed, but perhaps because my emotional state has been plied via pre-emotional affective relation, etc. — whatever one wants to call it. So does an album have emotional depth because one identifies those emotions in the musicians, or because one feels oneself? Obviously, I'm arguing that the latter is the real gauge, and that it might or might not involve the former. Whereas this brief discussion might suggest that Five is about emotional manipulation, to pick one possible interpretation, I certainly don't want to suggest that the musicians were being inauthentic in their improvised expression: Rather they're pursuing their musical vision, and it's having a fine effect on me. Part of this effect, as noted, derives from the various ensemble interactions possible in a quintet, i.e. various duos & trios (& even quartets) forming spontaneously, then disintegrating as someone falls away or someone else joins. There's a broad polyphonic sense of continuity surrounding this activity, but not an emphasis on line, as e.g. on Amethyst (another recent quintet album, also featuring two strings, on FMR) or some other recently discussed releases (where I've focused on continuity per se). I've been listing (perhaps misguidedly) a particular musician with albums here, and that can be rather arbitrary, including here with its distinguished ensemble cast, but I tend to feel as though the Runcible Quintet pivots on Marcello Magliocchi on drums: His drumming is usually subtle, sometimes absent or not really noticeable, yet seems to animate the five tracks. There are almost two trios here, both including Magliocchi: The most prominent is basically a flute trio with Neil Metcalfe & John Edwards. They're the two most immediately noticeable performers, and at times, the album does have the character of a trio, perhaps supplemented. I've mentioned Edwards here in conjunction with many albums at this point, and he's a consistently interesting bassist. Whereas getting to know the English improvisers was a difficult task, particularly given their superficial similarities of style, Edwards is someone I always seem to notice — he's also billed first here, although it's (also) alphabetical. (And everyone reading this probably knows who he is too.) I can't think of another prominent English improvising flautist offhand, so Metcalfe is easier to distinguish. He's also excellent throughout, with great tone & technique, very precise: I had mentioned him in conjunction with another English (although Five is only mostly English) quintet album on FMR, I look at you (discussed March 2016): It also has something of a classical feel, but in that case, it's more specifically post-Romantic, suggesting the 20th century English chamber tradition. Five is not generally tonal, however (yet not abrasive, for those concerned), so more contemporary in that sense. Whereas those performers might be more noticeable, the others have fine moments as well, moments that become more apparent with increased exposure: Daniel Thompson is actually someone whose participation spurred my attention, since I've enjoyed his playing on Hunt at the Brook & elsewhere. Although maybe in Edwards' shadow a little bit here, and the two do engage in dialogs, Thompson has e.g. a wonderful duet with Metcalfe to open track #2, and various subtle contributions elsewhere. (Five is generally more subtle than minimal or slow.) As a trio, Hunt at the Brook often moves a little faster than Five, is a little more close & fractured, but does slow down at various moments too. Both are also acoustic albums, which makes for a ready technical comparison. Finally, there is Adrian Northover on soprano sax, with whom (like Magliocchi) I was not familiar: He has recorded extensively with Edwards in a band called The Remote Viewers, though. Northover intertwines Metcalfe subtly at various points, as well as having his own moments. Despite its relatively large number of players — and I note that improvising quintets are much less common in this space than quartets or especially trios — Five generally maintains an airy ("Air"-y?) sense of open space, even a sylvan feeling (not so unlike Hunt at the Brook), and of course there is something of a sense of whimsy, as suggested by the quintet's name. As already suggested, the ensemble seems to pivot on Magliocchi, allowing a rich sense of interplay to maintain even as some players are silent. The result is something of a study in pace. Chant is probably the most similar recent (quintet) example — to be featured in this space anyway — in terms of varying combinations & maintaining a sense of quiet balance, sometimes becoming animated, albeit there mostly within one instrument family. (The other non-composed quintet album in my current list of favorites is Ramble, and it isn't constructed to prioritize this sort of interaction, i.e. it could have been a very similar album, at least in many ways, with a different number of players.) One might say that these albums explore a geometry (here underscored by the titles). The number-titled tracks on Five actually build in length from the first to the fourth, which slows down & becomes almost atmospheric after a while (perhaps heralded by sounds of distant traffic): At first I wanted more activity, but the resulting calm has come to seem very welcome, before the quintet returns to a more animated chirping interchange & into the brief final (almost an encore) track with its abrupt ending. (I might characterize some passages via the notion of "eye of the storm" except that there's never really a storm.) There are some tiny flashes of "jazz" along the way, little snippets of style, but this is mostly nonidiomatic music. It took me a while with this album, since it's hard to say what makes it come off "differently" from so many other English productions, but Five has taken on a distinctive & compelling feel with more exposure.

http://www.medieval.org/music/jazz/

Free – music volatile par un quintet vif argent : haut perchés et étirant le souffle entre les notes, la flûte baroque de Neil Metcalfe et le sax soprano d’Adrian Northover, bruissante et arachnéenne, la guitare acoustique de Daniel Thompson, frottée de manière incisive et avec plénitude, la contrebasse de John Edwards, agitée et frappée sous tous les angles, la percussion libérée de Marcello Magliocchi. Personnalité incontournable de la percussion en Italie, avec derrière lui une belle carrière de batteur de jazz, Marcello Magliocchi s’épanouit en Grande Bretagne en compagnie du saxophoniste chercheur Adrian Northover, un pilier notoire du London Improvisors Orchestra qui vit de sa musique dans plusieurs démarches musicales qui vont du jazz (projets basés sur la musique de Mingus et celle de Monk), au « cross-ethnic » en passant par les inclassables Remote Viewers. Un autre acolyte, le guitariste Daniel Thompson qui fait équipe avec le clarinettiste Tom Jackson et l’altiste Benedict Taylor au sein de CRAM. Il joue et enregistre fréquemment avec le flûtiste Neil Metcalfe. Northover ayant tourné durant des années dans toute l’Europe avec John Edwards au sein de B-Shops For The Poor avant que le contrebassiste ne soit révélé aux côtés d’Evan Parker et de Veryan Weston, quoi de plus naturel d’appeler son camarade pour ajouter des fondations boisées pour équilibrer le groupe en un quintet. Deux cordes, deux vents et une percussion. Les instrumentistes tissent des relations individuelles séparément et collectivement avec chacun d’eux, créent de courts mouvements tour à tour contrastés, complémentaires, enchaînés, lyriques, hyper-actifs, délicats, pastoraux, coordonnent leurs élans et leurs silences. Ils jouent à cinq, à quatre, à trois, à deux, s’invitant mutuellement à partager l’espace et le temps. Chacun d’eux à sa spécificité : on pense aux notes étirées du flûtiste qui trouve un écho chez le saxophoniste. Ou au percussionniste qui use une variété confondante de frappes, grattages, chocs, frottements, secouages, vibrations métalliques à l’archet. Les grondements moirés de la contrebasse se distinguent dans les taillis et s’élèvent entre les souffles. Même si la vitesse est une caractéristique de cette musique, ils jouent tout autant au ralenti en travaillant le son, la note, la phrase et les échanges les plus divers avec sérénité. Un rien suffit à faire sens. Un très bel exemple de collaboration spontanée intégrant magnifiquement cinq personnalités de l’improvisation dans un flux ludique, poétique qu’il faut écouter tout au long avec la plus grande attention pour pouvoir saisir pleinement le fond de leurs pensées.

THE RUNCIBLE QUINTET
FIVE
FMR RECORDS, CD, 437-0217 - 2017
Quintet improbable, quintet caduc ? Y a-t-il un sens a cette formation, qui tire son nom d'un non-sens emprunte a Edward Lear et son poeme The Owl and the Pus¬sycat, ou une correspondance avec ce qu'il propose ? Five est en fait une musique entierement improvisee entre cinq par-tenaires qui se connaissent bien, ayant souvent travaille les uns avec les autres au hasard de leurs periples respectifs. Adrian Northover (saxophone soprano) et John Edwards (contrebasse) officient au sein de Remote Viewers (et auparavant dans B. Shops for the Poor), Daniel Thompson (guitare acoustique) a fait des duos avec Neil Metcalfe (flute) et avec Northover. Seul Marcello Magliocchi (batterie), d'ori-gine italienne, n'apparait a ma connais-sance sur aucun autre enregistrement d'un de ses quatre partenaires. Les cinq titres, sobrement intitules de « One » a « Five », offrent des rencontres souvent convulsives, presque paroxystiques, debouchant parfois sur de (courtes) sequences plus apaisees, et marquees par quelques rentatives d'unis-son. Le quintet developpe (ou esquisse) diverses interactions (parfois en duo, en trio ou en quartet), a la recherche d'une polyphonie spontanee, libre et prenante. PIERRE DURR

PIERRE DURR
From Sept 2017 Revue&Corrigee.

The Runcible Quintet
Five
FMR CD 437-0217
Should (shudder!) the idea of there being superstars exist in Free Music, trend setters seeking them will have come to the wrong place at a gig by The Runcible Quintet (RQ). If internationally known player are the equivalent of film stars whose mere presence sells a picture, then these quintet members are like the character actors who bring verisimilitude to the celluloid situations. Particular breakthroughs may result from the actions of a few innovators, especially where music is concerned, but the genre’s continued health and dissemination depends on players like these.

At the same time the group which improvised on five untitled tracks ranging from slightly more than 2½ minutes to more than 17½, bring a certain sharpness and subtlety to the program. For a start the band is named for a fork curved like a spoon, mentioned in Edward Lear’s The Owl and the Pussycat. Combing decades of experience, the London-based ensemble consists of bassist John Edwards, known for his work with Evan Parker, among many others; soprano saxophonist Adrian Northover, a member of The Remote Viewers; flutist Neil Metcalfe, part of The Dedication Orchestra; drummer Marcello Magliocchi, who has taught percussion and worked pianist Mal Waldron and bassist Joelle Leandre;, and acoustic guitarist Daniel Thompson, who has also played with Parker and been in The London Improvisers Orchestra. Throughout the disc, the main strategy appears to be the contrapuntal face-off between the delicate puffing of Metcalfe’s flute with the hard-edged strumming of Thompson’s strings. No beat-monger, Magliocchi, is a colorist, with additional tinctures supplied by the other two players whose musical sympathies line-up on either side of the string/horn continuum.

By virtue of the sheer length, “(17:14)” come across as the RQ’s major statement. A stop-time extravaganza with riffs cascading in many directions, flute squeaks, sax bites, drum pops, and string scrubs sets up a multiphonic canvas upon which the horns exert stringent pressure. Metcalfe’s angled tone plus Northover’s stretched timbres dig a deep enough groove to gyrate back upon their own textures, and are pushed into overt expressiveness by Thompson’s sly finger picking. Producing a break in what begins to resemble endless rumble, the soprano saxophonist soaring squeak later become the cork in the musical bottle.

Other tracks allow different players to weave their contributions within the defining Metcalfe-Thompson light-dark/soft-hard saw off. Edwards’ shaved spiccato lines temper guitar onslaught at points; while Northover’s forward-pushing vibrations add resolute grit to the flute narration. More a record of a journey by intrepid improvisers than a celebration of goals attained. Five is yet another demonstration of how Free Music continually renews itself, as the highly accomplished if not famous continue to play it.

—Ken Waxman
http://www.jazzword.com/

Výraz runcible je nonsensové slovo vytvorené poetou Edwardem Learem a je svým zpusobem prototypem nonsensu, tedy neceho nepatricného, v praxi nepoužitelného. The sice naopak funguje skvele, ale faktem je, že i v tak otevrené disciplíne jako je svobodná improvizace pusobí opravdu nejak jinak. Tomu vlastne napomáhá už nástrojové obsazení, kde se výrazne prosazují flétna (Neil Metcalfe) a akustická kytara (Daniel Thompson). Ale i univerzální kontrabasista John Edwards, který má pri ruzných príležitostech vždy svébytný rejstrík, lec mnohdy jindy žene svuj nástroj silou dopredu, tady jakoby našel ješte další fígle a ústrojne je zapojoval do celkového soundu. Podobne tak bicí Marcella Magliocchiho splétají roztodivné obrazce z filigránské roztrepanosti. A pozadu nestojí ani saxofonista Adrian Northover, který se však do celku vplétá spíše nenápadnými štebety. Názvem slovní hrícky koncí a jednotlivé instantní kompozice jsou oznaceny pouze císly od jedné do peti a jejich rozsah se rídí proste momentální invencí a vše má adekvátní zacátek i konec bez ohledu na to, zda skladba trvá dve a pul minuty nebo více než sedmnáct. Komplikované struktury mají svuj vnitrní rád a nepracují s prvoplánovou gradací nebo efektními zvraty, ale vše tu do sebe skvele zapadá. Nahrávka vznikla v avantgardním londýnském klubu s príznacným názvem IKLECTIC. Nutno ovšem ríct, že v prípade The Runcible Quintet nejde o eklekticismus v hudebním slova smyslu, protože to není propletenec jazzu a postupu soucasné vážné hudby, jak by se možná mohlo zdát, ale skutecný novotvar. Spíše se tu setkávají a prolínají mikronálady, v nichž je spíš než humor pousmání a spíš než melancholie jakési pozastavení se a procítení.

Petr Slaby
http://www.hisvoice.cz/en/articles/detail/3574

Five was recorded in April 2016, at I'klectik, a performance venue favoured by LIO, just across the Thames from Big Ben. The album consists of five tracks, somewhat unimaginatively entitled "One", "Two", "Three", "Four" and "Five", totalling under forty-five minutes. All of the music was freely improvised by the five players. Although the quintet's instrumentation may suggest a front line of saxophone and flute supported by a rhythm section of guitar, bass and drums, the reality is far freer and looser than that, with all five players improvising throughout. On "One", their playing is tentative as they feel their way, hinting that this is not a well-established quintet. By "Two", they sound more assured and the music starts to flow freely, kick-started by a sprightly, assured flute passage from Metcalfe that seems to relax everyone. "Three" and "Four" are longer pieces that form the heart of the album; throughout each of them, the five engage in a series of animated exchanges that radiate confidence and the sheer joy of playing together; interchanges between flute and saxophone are particularly noteworthy. "Five" is a brief end piece that draws the album to a satisfying conclusion, and leaves the listener wanting more.
The music on Five is good, old-fashioned improv that could easily have been recorded in any year from the mid-seventies onwards. It augurs well for future albums from this quintet. Sharp-eyed readers will have noticed that the word "runcible" is borrowed from the comic writings of Edward Lear. The word itself is a piece of Lear nonsense without any agreed meaning, often being attached to non-existent objects such as the "runcible spoon" of Lear's best-known work The Owl and the Pussycat. We must hope that its inclusion in this quintet's name is not intended to signal that the group was a one-off and is actually non-existent itself. More, soon, please."-John Eyles, The Squid's Ear