Barry Guy
(Copyright © 2006 Piero Scaruffi | Terms of use )

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An alumnus of John Stevens' Spontaneous Music Ensemble and a member of Iskra 1903 with guitarist Derek Bailey and trombonist Paul Rutherford, British composer and bassist Barry Guy (1947) organized the London Jazz Composers' Orchestra. The seven-movement suite of Ode (april 1972) featured three trumpeters (Harry Beckett, Dave Holdsworth, and Marc Charig), three trombonists (Paul Rutherford, Mike Gibbs and Paul Nieman), six saxophonists (including Trevor Watts, Mike Osborne, Evan Parker and Karl Jenkins), guitarist Derek Bailey, a tuba player, a pianist, a flutist, two bassists and two percussionists Tony Oxley and Paul Lytton).

The four-movement Stringer (march 1980), off Study II, was scored for five saxophonists (Trevor Watts, Evan Parker, Peter Broetzmann, Larry Stabbins, Tony Coe), two trombones (Paul Rutherford and Paul Nieman), piano, violin, tuba, bass (Peter Kowald), percussion (Tony Oxley and John Stevens).

Other significant Guy "compositions" for the orchestra included: Polyhymnia (november 1987), off Zurich Concerts; Harmos (april 1989); Double Trouble (april 1989); Theoria (february 1991), a collaboration with pianist Irene Schweizer; Study/ Witch Gong Game II/10 (february 1994); Three Pieces for Orchestra (december 1995); Double Trouble II (december 1995), a collaboration with pianists Marilyn Crispell and Irene Schweizer.

Paul Plimley recorded with Barry Guy Witch Gong Game (february 1994) for large ensemble and the duo album Sensology.

In the new century, Guy renamed it New Orchestra and recorded the seven-movement suite Inscape (may 2000) and the three-movement suite Entropy (july 2004), works that were even more ambitious and sophisticated than the earlier ones.

One For Two And Two Twos (august 1978) documents a quartet with John Stevens (drum set & voice), Paul Rutherford (trombone & euphonium), Evan Parker (soprano & tenor saxes) and Barry Guy (double bass & electronics).

Guy has also recorded several albums of improvisation: the solo Statements For V-XI For Double Bass And Violone (october 1976); Improvisations Are Forever Now (january 1979), a trio with pianist Howard Riley and violinist Philipp Wachsmann; Endgame (april 1979), a quartet with saxophonist Trevor Watts, pianist Howard Riley and percussionist John Stevens; the live Paintings (october 1981) with bassist Peter Kowald; the colossal improvisation Supersession (september 1984), a quartet with saxophonist Evan Parker, guitarist Keith Rowe (also on electronics) and percussionist Eddie Prevost; the live Assist (november 1985), containing solo and duo improvisations with bassist Fred Van Hove; Arcus (august 1989) with bassist Barre Phillips; the live Elsie Jo (march 1991), with trombonist Conrad Bauer, saxophonist Evan Parker, pianist Irene Schweizer, bassist Barre Phillips and percussionist Paul Lytton; the solo Fizzles (september 1991); You Forget To Answer (november 1994), a trio with reed player Mats Gustafsson and percussionist Raymond Strid; Sensology (november 1995), a duet with pianist Paul Plimley; Gryffgryffgryffs (january 1996), a quartet with saxophonist Mats Gustafsson, pianist Marilyn Crispell and drummer Raymond Strid; Frogging (june 1997), a duo with reedist Mats Gustaffson; Gudira (june 1997), a trio with flutist Robert Dick and percussionist Randy Raine-Reusch; Odyssey (april 1999), a trio with pianist Marilyn Crispell and percussionist Paul Lytton; the solo Symmetries (july 2001); Birds And Blades (september 2001), a duet with saxophonist Evan Parker; Ithaca (january 2003), again in a trio with Crispell and Lytton.

Guy has also composed classical music, mostly for string orchestra: Flagwalk (1983), The Eye of Silence (1988), Look Up! (1990) for eight cellos, After the Rain (1992), Un Coup de Des (1994), Buzz (1995), Concerto for Orchestra (1996), Remembered Earth (1999) for chamber ensemble and choir, Folio (2002), etc.

Glasgow Improvisers Orchestra with Barry Guy (october 2005) included the 50-minute Witch Gong Game II/10.

Tarfala (october 2006) is a collaboration with Mats Gustafsson on saxohones and Raymond Strid on percussion.

Phases of the Night (may 2007) is a trio with Barry Guy, Paul Lytton and Marylin Crispell.

The London Jazz Composers Orchestra's Radio Rondo/Schaffhausen Concert, (may 2008) contains an Irene Schweizer piano solo and an orchestral Radio Rondo (30 minutes) featuring Irene Schweizer (piano), Evan Parker, Mats Gustafsson, Trevor Watts, Simon Picard, Pete McPhail (all on reeds), Conrad Bauer, Johannes Bauer, Alan Tomlinson (all on trombone), Henry Lowther, Herb Robertson, Rich Laughlin (all on trumpet), Per Ake Holmlander (tuba), Phil Wachsmann (violin), Barre Phillips (bass), and drummers Paul Lytton and Lucas Niggli.

The duo of Agusti Fernandez (piano) and Barry Guy (double bass) delivered Some Other Place (may 2008 and april 2009).

Scenes In the House Of Music (september 2009) was recorded by a quartet with Evan Parker (tenor and soprano saxes), Peter Evans (trumpet), Barry Guy (bass) and Paul Lytton (drums).

The studio and live double-album Morning Glory + Live in New York (february 2010 and may 2009) documents the trio of pianist Agustí Fernández, bassist Barry Guy and drummer Ramón López.

The Thing consisted of Mats Gustafsson (baritone, tenor and slide saxes), Ingebrigt Håker Flaten, Barry Guy (basses) and Paal Nilssen-Love (drums), as documented on the live METAL! (april 2011).

The Hexen Trio debuted with Hexentrio (Intakt, 2012): Paul Plimley (piano and voice), Barry Guy (bass and voice) and Lucas Niggli (drums and voice).

Falkirk (october 2005) and Schweben - Ay, But Can Ye? (march 2009) were recorded with the Glasgow Improvisers Orchestra.

Five Fizzles For Samuel Beckett (january 2009) contains five solo bass compositions recorded in a church.

The five-disc box-set Mad Dogs (november 2010) documents live performances by the Barry Guy New Orchestra. Live at Maya Recordings Festival (september 2011) captures a live improvisation by Evan Parker (soprano and tenor saxes), Barry Guy (bass) and Paul Lytton (drums).

Barry Guy's New Orchestra included Agusti Fernandez (piano), Maya Homburger (baroque violin), Evan Parker and Jurg Wickihalder (saxes), Mats Gustafsson (sax and fluteophone), Hans Koch (bass clarinet), Herb Robertson (trumpet), Johannes Bauer (trombone), Per ¸ke Holmlander (tuba), Paul Lytton and Raymond Strid (percussion) on Amphi + Radio Rondo (march 2013).

Barry Guy's trio Aurora with pianist Agusti Fernandez and drummer Ramon Lopez recorded live A Moment's Liberty (may 2013).

The four-disc boxset Mad Dogs On The Loose (november 2010) documents several line-ups of Barry Guy's Orchestra, including the Tarfala Trio (Mats Gustafsson, Barry Guy and  Raymond Strid).

Barry Guy composed the music of the live Time Passing (november 2013), scored for soprano, bass-baritone, improvising vocalist & double-bassist and string ensemble, notably the 24-minute Ping.

The Blue Shroud (october 2015) debuted a new band of 13 musicians, including pianist Agusti Fernandez, violinist Maya Homburger, tuba player Miched Godard, drummers Lucas Niggli and Ramon Lopez, and trumpeter Percy Pursglove, and contains the 71-minute two-movement piece inspired by Pablo Picasso's painting "Guernica".

The four-disc box-set Tensegrity (november 2014) documents solos, duos, trios and quartets with a cast comprising Savina Yannatou (voice), Michel Godard (tuba and serpent), Ben Dwyer  (guitar), Agusti Fernandez (piano), Torben Snekkestad (soprano & tenor saxes), Michael Niesemann (alto sax & oboe), Per Texas Johansson (tenor sax & clarinet), Peter Evans (trumpet), Julius Gabriel (baritone & soprano saxes), Maya Homburger (violin), Fanny Paccoud (viola), Lucas Niggli and Ramon Lopez (percussion).

The Guy-Crispell-Lytton trio returned with their third collaboration, Deep Memory (may 2015).

Beyond (november 2016) was a collaboration with Jurg Wickihalder (soprano, alto and tenor saxes) and Lucas Niggli (drums).

Without Borders (march 2016) documents a trio with Maya Homburger on baroque violin and Slovenian Zlatko Kaucic on drums, electric zither and home-made instruments, including the 22-minute Footfalls, one of his creative peaks.

The trio o f Evan Parker (sax), Barry Guy (bass) and Paul Lytton (drums) returned with the live Music For David Mossman (july 2016).

The trio of Agusti Fernandez (piano), Barry Guy (bass) and Norwegian reedist Torben Snekkestad (sax and trumpet) recorded the 50-minute live improvisation of Louisiana Variations (july 2017).

Syllogistic Moments (november 2016) documents a live performance by Barry Guy (double bass) and Peter Evans (trumpet).

Luminous (october 2015) documents a live performane by Simon Nabatov on piano, Barry Guy on contrabass and Gerry Hemingway on drums.

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