Winter Gardens by John Butcher.
Bandcamp Link: Winter Gardens
4 tracks, recorded live in London, UK, and Milwaukee, WI, some time around 2013.
The first track, “Sporangia (High)”, is a workout for soprano saxophone prominently featuring flutter tongueing.
The second track, “Sea Cone”, is an exploration of percussive sounds created by opening and closing the Tenor Sax keys and also manipulating feedback created by changing the resonant space in the sax.
The third track, “Sporangia (Low)” is a more general workout for Tenor Saxophone, utilizing a wide variety of “extended technique”.
The fourth track, “Sea Fret” is for Soprano Sax and starts with Butcher making sounds into the Sax without the mouthpiece attached, sort of as a trumpet player would. Percussive sounds of the keys follow, and towards the end it seems he attaches the saxophone’s mouthpiece and the track finishes with high pitched sounds.
Which all sounds very programmatic when you lay it out, but the thing I like about Butcher’s solo playing is that while he is using “extended technique” in his Saxophone playing, he is still telling a story with his playing.
There is a logic to the language he has created and the solos have a progression and through points, which make listening to his music enjoyable and rewarding. There is tension and release. Drama. Humour. Pathos.
It isn’t simply a display of techniques.