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On Song Songs Song Parker   and guitarist Scott Fields engage in a freeform, improvised route amid track titles that would make Captain Beefheart proud. The duo partakes in scratching and clawing via lightly amplified electric guitar lines and contrasting sound-shaping maneuvers. On the opening “LK 92,” perhaps the most accessible piece of the bunch, Parker and Fields render a laidback jazz-blues motif topped off with an affecting melody and random shifts in pitch. Although the guitarists occasionally crank it up and with just enough amplification to generate some bite, the majority of the set is structured upon irregular ebbs and flows.

The duo uses space as a means for maintaining an element of surprise while also employing volume control techniques and assimilating a wide-ranging latitude of viewpoints. The 17-minute improvisation “Untitled, 1955, Crayon On Kellogg’s Corn Flakes Box,” is part minimalism and dissonance, embellished with clanging harmonics and odd phrasings. The picture painted here is that of two shrewd operators establishing a few guidelines, yet not knowing or caring where they’ll end up. 3 stars (out of 5) — Glenn Astarita,   DownBeat



Cloistered in Wisconsin, guitarist Scott   Fields devises new ways of structuring improvisation. In a string of unjustly overlooked CDs, he’s experimented with groups of varying configurations. This incarnation of Fields’ ensemble is a good introduction to his music, in part because it showcases his thoughtful, probing guitar solos in a trio setting. Inspired by playwright David Mamet, this project uses the atmospheres, dramatic interactions and texts from five plays to guide the soloists. Fields goes so far as to incorporate Mamet’s dialogue into his instrumental scores, and to assign dramatic roles to each musician. The strategy demands, and obtains, expressive, “vocal” performances from bassist Michael Formanek and drummer Michael Zerang.

On “The Woods,” listen to the give-and-take between Fields’ guitar and Formanek’s bass, which voice the female and male “leads,” respectively. Fields’ guitar solos pass through a pleading blues twang to sputtering anger, culminating in howls of anguish. Without in-depth knowledge of the plays or the scores, it’s impossible to assess how closely the trio captures the meaning or rhythms of Mamet’s dialogue. The performances are so good that it shouldn’t matter. four stars! — Jon Andrews,   Downbeat

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