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Radio Rondo 31:21


Intakt CD 158

"After her riveting prelude-like solo, Schweizer applied her pan-stylistic approach to Guy’s challenging, playerempowering score. Though Guy retained the form’s traditional utility as a soloist’s showcase on “Radio Rondo,” he expanded the scope of the rondo’s back and forth to feature Schweizer in several subgroupings – a pummeling quintet passage with Guy, bassist Barre Phillips, and drummers Paul Lytton and Lucas Niggli – as well as encounters with the full force of the 17-piece contingent. A magisterial theme set up the piece’s final tutti blast.”

Liner notes by Bill Shoemaker:
Jazz’s ascent to global art form was largely facilitated by radio. Through the national reach of NBC, Benny Goodman was anointed King of Swing in the mid 1930s, embedding jazz deep within the psyche of a pivotal generation of American youth. European countries have similar, if war-truncated narratives at home and in their possessions. During the Cold War decades, state and military radio services delivered the jazz message not only to Europeans, but Africans, Asians and Latin Americans as well.

Radio remains a medium of surprise. The listener doesn’t know what’s next on the play list, or even it there is a play list. Even very familiar music can be transformed into something new on the radio. At the same time, radio is a subtly effective didactic medium. Jazz broadcasters like Voice of America’s Willis Conover and Südwestfunk’s Joachim-Ernst Berendt exerted a wide, profound influence on post-war generations. One measure of radio’s enduring power is that it thrives on the Internet; its adaptability allows a WKCR marathon or a Jazz on 3 studio session to be accessible from almost anywhere on the planet.

The experience of music through radio continues to resonate with composers and improvisers, as evidenced by Barry Guy’s “Radio Rondo,” commissioned for the relaunch of London Jazz Composers Orchestra after a decade-long dormancy at the 2008 Schaffhauser Jazzfestival. Guy described his initial conjuring for the piece in an interview two days after its premiere:

“The idea that led me to call the piece ‘Radio Rondo’ was that the guys in the band had been circulating around the world doing their music since our last concert at the Berlin Jazz Festival in 1998, and their music was out there in the airwaves, though not necessarily literally being played on the radio. It is an image of the continuum of this music. What I wanted to do, metaphorically, was to turn on the radio at night and tune into the collected resonances.”

For Guy, “Radio Rondo” not only represents the continuum of the music as personified by his colleagues in LJCO, but also in terms of his long-term project with both LJCO and the subsequent Barry Guy New Orchestra to create chain reactions between notated and improvised elements within flexible compositional superstructures. In this regard, the radio metaphor inspired Guy as he shaped the piece:

“In fact, when I began the piece, it literally started from a zero point as if you go to your radio, turn it on and they’re there, as if the music had never stopped. These zero-to-max-to-zero “lozenge” shaped events (that’s how they look on the score) represent a structural nuance that re-occurs at important musical junctions, thereby abiding by the Rondo principal. But, once I finished the piece, I added a preface to it with all these glissandi, bass drums, and wild saxophones. So that was like opening the window and letting them in like a flock of birds, and then I turned on the radio. Similarly, the end of the piece has this very sharp cut-off as if you just turned off the radio.”




released October 15, 2009

Irène Schweizer: Piano Solo

Barry Guy London Jazz Composers Orchestra
Barry Guy: director, bass
Irène Schweizer: piano
Evan Parker: reeds
Mats Gustafsson: reeds
Trevor Watts: reeds
Simon Picard: reeds
Pete McPhail: reeds
Conrad Bauer: tmb
Johannes Bauer: tmb
Alan Tomlinson: tmb
Henry Lowther: tpt
Herb Robertson: tpt
Rich Laughlin: tpt
Per Åke Holmlander: tuba
Phil Wachsmann: violin
Barre Phillips: bass
Paul Lytton: percussion
Lucas Niggli: percussion

Schaffhausen Concert by Irène Schweizer. Radio Rondo by Barry Guy.
Recorded Mai 21, 2008 at Schaffhauser Jazzfestival, Switzerland. Schaffhausen Concert is recorded by Radio DRS, Martin Pearson. Radio Rondo is recorded by Willy Strehler. Liner notes: Bill Shoemaker. Photos: Francesca Pfeffer. Cover art and graphic design: Jonas Schoder. Produced and published by Intakt Records, Patrik Landolt.

Catalogue: 50 Years London Jazz Composers Orchestra on Intakt Records:


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