London Jazz Composers Orchestra:
Barry Guy - director, bass
reeds: Evan Parker (ts, ss), Mats Gustafsson (bs, fluteohpone), Trevor Watts (as), Simon Picard (ts), Pete McPhail (as, sss, fl);
trombones: Contrad Bauer, Johannes Bauer, Alan Tomlison;
trumpets: Henry Lowther (tp, flh), Herb Robertson (tp), Rich Laughlin (tp, flh); tuba: Per Ake Holmlander
violin: Phil Wachsmann; bass: Barre Phillips
percussion: Paul Lytton, Lucas Niggli
piano: Howard Riley
Intakt Records 2012
"Harmos" was originally composed in 1987 and registered two years later for the Intakt label. The DVD at hand presents the piece as it was performed on Schaffhauser Jazz Festival at 2008. It's worth noticing that more than the half of the Orchestra on the stage had taken part in 1989 recording as well, namely: Riley, Lowther, Tomlinson, Watts, Parker, McPhail, Picard, Wachsmann, Phillips, Lytton, Guy and Phillips.
The piece, as it unfolds, reveals melodic layers and improvised interaction. Dense improvisations are only reinforced through the majestic, orchestral themes. The piece develops itself through a serious of tension-release cycles, with each improviser being able to change the flexible orchestral context, with all blocks build upon the melodic architecture.
"Harmos" is a symphonic work of grandeur vision in which the structure embraces both freedom and discipline. A sort of vision that defies the boundaries of jazz as well as those of composed music in a rare way. The daring improvisations will keep you on your toes through the performance, the depth, the richness colours, the energy are awe-inspiring but it's the melodies that will haunt you long after the music is over.
"Harmos" is a proof, that great art can stand the passing of time, without loosing any of its gripping emotional power. Incredibly rewarding music.