Antonio Quijano Quartet – Songs from Another Blue Planet
(SLAMCD 285. CD Review by Chris Parker)
At times, this set of first-take improvisations, recorded in Bristol in November 2009, sounds like an escape from MoonJune Records’ catalogue: the music made by electric bassist Antonio Quijano, electronic drums player/pianist Marco Anderson, reeds player Paul Dunmall and electric guitarist Philip Gibbs is basically ‘free jazz/rock’ rather than ‘free jazz’, owing as much to Soft Machine, electric Miles and perhaps even the more outré productions of Weather Report as to, say, Mujician or Dreamtime.
Quijano plays a rich variety of bass foundations (by turns funky stutters, sonorous Jaco-tinged soaring, growling power) to anchor the characteristically inventive Dunmall, who fires off a series of gripping, passionate solos on soprano, tenor, clarinet and bagpipe chanter; Gibbs, who is spiky, howling or scrabbling as demanded by each collective improvisation; and Anderson, who pounds out a series of heavy electronic beats under it all. If this makes the whole thing sound a mite relentless, though, it’s misleading: there are quieter moments, even the odd folk-ish skirl or spacy meditative passage, so overall, the album provides a vibrant and absorbing set of spontaneous creations from four supremely accomplished improvisers.