(Ping Pong)

Lol Coxhill is 75 this year but his unstoppable creative fantasy seems to know no limit. This collection – recorded in 2004 – shows him in customary great shape, eradicating smugness from improvisational settings with the same ease of a carrot-picking farmer. With typical unyoked-from-everything dexterity – which many decades of activity didn’t manage to transform in an overweight acquiescence to the obnoxiousness of formulaic nonsense – Coxhill chirps, tweets and sings with inexhaustible joy to satisfy a quest and the listener alike. John Edwards and Steve Noble are happy to facilitate their partner’s glorification of unusual melody. The bassist utilizes arco and pizzicato sapience to sustain and enhance a riptide of inventiveness, always finding the correct entrance point to guarantee both a high level of workmanship and the occasional genial coup. The drummer confirms a well-deserved reputation by sparkling engaging scraps with commonplace via acute rhythmic interchangeability, his routes through the development of the pieces full of detours, bumps and outpouring nervousness resulting in a uniquely unrepentant percussive personality. And for good measure, the guys can riff as hell, if they feel like doing so. Misconceptions and insubstantiality do not belong here: this is important material from three protagonists of the evolutional anarchy of English free music, of which “The early years” constitutes yet another superb chapter. If you need classifications or definitions, go somewhere else.


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