FRITH, FRED: Keep The Dog Live (dbl)
Fred's legendary collected works band, formed in 1989 with allstars Rene Lussier, Bob Ostertag, Zeena Parkins, Jean Derome and Charles Hayward. An album mainly of instrumental compositions. CharlesŐ clean, incisive drums lend a sharp edge to the more jazz inflected horns Đ sometimes shifting into jazz-rock territory, Zeena in less customary role concentrates on Keyboards (and occasionally sings with Fred), Rene and Fred share Bass and Guitar, Jean covers a family of winds with an even handed virtuosity and, for the rest, if you canŐt square it, itŐs probably Bob Ostertag, whose sampler stored parts, noises and whatever no one else had hands for. As with Henry Cow, Fred integrated large stretches of improvising between and within the piecesÉ following the grail many of us pursue still - integration beyond the point of distinguishing between composition, improvisation, interpretation and performance. This double CD was compiled from performances in many countries in 1991 and it represents both the breadth of composition and the extraordinary quality of musicianship and imagination characteristic of that new, homeless, community of composer/performers that emerged from the 70Ős genre collapse, a terminal collapse that was to throw the contents and techniques of Folk, Jazz, Rock and Contemporary musics into what was to become in the space of a few years effectively a new form.