Michael Keith - Number Nine

Michael Keith - Number Nine
Album: Number Nine
Duration: 50:05
Recording Date: April 17, 2005
Release Date: August 1, 2006
Artist: Michael Keith
Genre: Avant-Garde

The best-known member of this trio is of course saxophonist John Oswald, although his fame is derived much more from his incredible plunderphonics than his work as a free improviser. He is a jerky, honky player with a strongly Dadaist mind and a clever way of always listening intently and occasionally choosing to ignore what he hears. In free improv circles, Roger Turner would be the name that stands out of this session. This British powerhouse is well known for his work with Phil Minton, John Russell and the harsher Konk Pack trio. An explosive drummer à la Han Bennink, he also displays a Paul Lytton-esque finesse, one balancing the other to create an unpredictable and truly captivating musician. That leaves us with Michael Keith, an acoustic guitarist from Toronto (where Oswald also resides).

The man clearly owes a lot to Derek Bailey (the fractured playing) and John Russell (that peculiar strumming), but he also establishes his own identity throughout Number Nine, with punkish outbursts in "Nine," a blues influence in "Centre" and a mock-rock riff that immediately determines the mood and short duration of "Sister." This album was recorded in a Toronto studio on April 17, 2005, two years after Keith and Turner's first meeting and a year after the trio's debut. Five of the seven tracks are rather short (seven minutes or less) and the two 13-minute cuts have the intensity and drive to sustain that kind of duration. The three unique individuals of the trio lock in together nicely, which gives us some exciting and even frantic free improvisation of the European persuasion.

Title/ComposerPerformerTime
Canal / Michael Keith / John Oswald / Roger TurnerMichael Keith13:42
Sister / Michael Keith / John Oswald / Roger TurnerMichael Keith3:47
Staircase / Michael Keith / John Oswald / Roger TurnerMichael Keith5:12
Instants / Michael Keith / John Oswald / Roger TurnerMichael Keith5:05
Nine / Michael Keith / John Oswald / Roger TurnerMichael Keith12:51
Centre / Michael Keith / John Oswald / Roger TurnerMichael Keith7:14
Harbourfront / Michael Keith / John Oswald / Roger TurnerMichael Keith2:14

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