July/August 1998

Peter Kowald and Barre Phillips, Barry Guy, Maarten Altena
Bass Duets
FMP/Free Music Production

Peter Kowald has long championed bass duos, though Barre Phillips, who recorded Music From Two Basses with Dave Holland for ECM in 1971, had a few years of a head start, at least on disc. Bass Duets chronicles this facet of Kowald's music by compiling tracks from FMP LP-era encounters with Phillips, Barry Guy and Maarten Altena, each of whom have made real contributions to expanding the scope of the instrument through extended techniques.
Annotator Dave Walters has it right when he says these musicians (and presumably, their peers) "have created nothing less than a new genre: challenging, exciting, a new voice in the spiraling development of the Bass. Listen and be thrilled and astounded." Walters knows something about the bass: he gigged with Toscanini and Casals, counts Bertram Turetzky among his pupils and has taught at Juilliard for more than 30 years. So take his word on it.

Originally published in July/August 1998
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