Review: Barry Guy New Orchestra at Cafe Oto

Barry Guy. Cafe Oto, May 2014
Drawing by Geoffrey Winston. © 2014. All Rights Reserved

Barry Guy New Orchestra
(Cafe Oto, 20th May 2014; first of 3-night residency; review and drawing by Geoff Winston)

The Barry Guy New Orchestra got off to a cracking start on the  first of their three nights at Cafe Oto. Guy announced that ‘we have three days of wonderful activity’ lined up; ‘only three days to do it!’

Paul Lytton and Agusti Fernandez set the bar at the highest level as they kicked off a sequence of morphing group collaborations. Fernandez could have been a second percussionist to Paul Lytton, as he attacked the Yamaha piano’s innards remorselessly, while Lytton applied shells and metallic objects in his rippling, creative flow. Raymond Strid, using a violin bow and sticks initiated a rolling percussion interplay with Lytton, flicked a cloth across the cymbals, which informally allowed Hans Koch in to the circle on bass clarinet. A sprightly woodwind/drums interaction was closely followed by an upper and lower registers woodwind dialogue when the clarinet of Per Texas Johansson joined the fray.

Barry Guy and Maya Homburger took to the stage for their bass/violin recital of Celebration, obliquely based on the Happy Birthday tune, a link which eluded the audience when quizzed by Guy at its conclusion, and gave them the opportunity to demonstrate how well it was hidden!

The high energy groove which the Orchetra’s Octet delivered, with brass blasting away – Herb Robertson and Johannes Bauer in full mischief mode, while Jürg Wickihalder took up soprano and alto simultaneously and Per Åke Holmlander added sub-marine propulsion on tuba – was followed, in duet, by Evan Parker’s beautifully constructed, lightly dispensed phrasing as the foil to Guy’s brightly-faceted articulation of his bass. Parker took lead role in the full orchestra’s assault on Danaus (named after the Monarch Butterfly) which they navigated in twenty minutes of wonderfully swerving, controlled chaos, expertly guided by Guy.

Barry Guy / bass, director
Johannes Bauer / trombone
Agusti Fernandez / piano
Per Åke Holmlander / tuba
Maya Homburger / baroque violin
Per Texas Johansson / sax, clarinets
Hans Koch / sax, clarinets
Paul Lytton / percussion
Evan Parker / sax
Herb Robertson / trumpet
Raymond Strid / percussion
Jürg Wickihalder / saxophone

Supported by the Swiss Arts Council Pro Helvetia

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