Better Late Records BLR0049
"Subtitled 'music from 7 improvisations', this album captures Steve Lawson (bass, loops), drummer Roy Dodds and Patrick Wood (keyboards, acoustic and electric guitars), plus (on three tracks) saxophonist/bass clarinettist Mark Lockheart and (on one) vocalist Gwyn Allen, spontaneously creating seven pieces of music, their length varying between two and a half and nearly fifteen minutes.
Spontaneous creation/free improvisation in this case turns out to be somewhat different from the music generally associated with the rubric; instead of music created from what might be described as mutual spark-striking, this usually takes a preconceived element – a bassline, a motif, a rhythm – and then adds layers of improvisation on top of it.
The result, when Lockheart's plaintive saxophones are involved, is not a million miles away from the multi-textured, delicate music of the 1990s Jan Garbarek Group, or from the more recent recordings of Andy Sheppard; at other times it resembles acoustic West African music or – occasionally – spacey, New Age music.
Whatever its overall sound, though, Numbers is always imaginative and lively, juxtaposing unusual textures (Fender Rhodes against the treacly skirl of Lockheart's bass clarinet, or Dodds's softly scurrying percussion against Lawson's fretless bass) or simply featuring acoustic or electric guitar solos over a relatively conventional-sounding rhythm section. Intriguing, atmospheric, absorbing music".
Chris Parker (vortexjazz.co.uk)