Joe Morris / Simon H Fell / Alex Ward – The Necessary And The Possible


Indirectly influenced by Harold Pinter’s play The Birthday Party — a favorite reading of his youth — bassist Simon H Fell associates this record’s title to the condition of “touching on many subjects, including what’s necessary and what might be possible” that characterizes the type of interplay heard on this set, which was captured on May 18, 2008 during the 25th edition of the Victoriaville Festival. Joe Morris (here on acoustic guitar) and Fell have known each other since 1998, both participants in Registered Firm (Incus) with Alan Wilkinson and Paul Hession, while clarinetist Alex Ward first met Morris in 2000 after the latter saw him on stage with the late Derek Bailey.

That these artists sound so tightly interconnected regardless of their practically non-existent relationship in the subsequent years is the exact proof of how a legitimate musician can attain a level of deep communication with another being which is all but prohibited to the rest of mankind. Despite having performed as a trio only through the brief tour that heralded this session, the partners deliver unfailingly as far as investigational dauntlessness, intuitive rationality, abolishment of useless trickery and overall timbral freshness are concerned. Ward, in particular, offers a spectacular performance throughout, alternating axiomatic statements and kaleidoscopic explorations of the clarinet’s gamut with absolutely flawless control on the instrument’s dynamics. Still, he’s also able to preserve some of the energies for a quieter dialogue: it happens at the beginning of the broodingly ominous “Auront Improvisé”, Fell and Morris enhancing the reedist’s whispered predictions with scraping delicacy and glittering touches on the strings, the guitarist picking behind the bridge to obtain a mbira-like percussive timbre which is a thing of beauty, the bassist hoarsely growling his way across the lower regions of the aural range with a cultivated concoction of arco pensiveness and fingered desecration.

The full hour runs away with nary a moment of tiredness, the incessant intensity and the multiform liveliness of the conversations appearing nearly absurd to these ears: futility and ineffectual choices don’t belong in these men’s jargon. They develop instant plans which may be respected or less, but even when the discussion threatens to slip off the frame of meaningfulness, one almost envisions the three exchanging a wink and proceeding to rekindle the flame, instantly recapturing a perfect distribution of the weights, intelligence sparkling everywhere. This kind of attitude is based on what the music world at large defines as “reciprocal listening”, yet there’s more than this. The Necessary And The Possible exemplifies the sharing of different familiarities and experiences without crumbling under the burden of normalcy, transmitting revitalizing vibrations in the meantime.




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