Recorded June 30, 1998, in Oakland. John Butcher, one of the most original saxophone voices of the day, joined here in good company by Gino Robair and Matthew Sperry. Never content with simply being an exercise in pushing the capabilities of their instruments beyond the parameters of established technique, the music here is also deeply fascinating and breathtaking too. No lavish ornamentation, but twelve statements of exuberance given momentum by a subtle delicacy.
What the Critics are Saying:
Though this is definitely a group music, saxophonist Butcher is the conspicuous lead voice. Trilling, slap-tonguing, split notes and multiphonics combine in his most unsaxophone-like vocabulary. Percussionist Robair has become increasingly minimal, using a variety of supplementary wood and metal objects as much as the regular drum heads and cymbals, rolling many different timbres into a single musical gesture. Both Robair and his fellow Bay Area resident Sperry, integrate thenselves in the responsive interplay and moment-to-moment forward thrust of this delicately charged music. So well integrated are they, that they sound more like a regular group than a one-off cross-Atlantic collaboration.
Phil England, The Wire.
Preeminently group music, 12 Milagritos gives the saxophonist the proper canvas on which to express his reed brush strokes. Not that he's the only artist here. Like sculptor's associates who simultaneously work on different parts of a statue to produce the three-dimensional representation, each man contributes to the concoction, negating the hierarchical concept of soloist with rhythm section. Often the result is one of those improvisations where the precise sound source for many notes is difficultto determine. Most of the 12 pieces unroll at a frantic speed, yet with every gesture microscopically clear.
Ken Waxman, Jazz Weekly.
Recorded (June 30, 1998), mixed and mastered by Myles Boisen at Guerrilla. Recording and Headless Buddha Mastering Lab, Oakland, Ca.