WILL GUTHRIE

* 'IN' - LP - monotype- 2009 - Recorded in Noirt & Poznan
* 'BIRD DIES' - CD - Clean Feed - 2010 - Recorded in Lille
* Full Illionois Jaquet' - Tape - Factotum Tapes - 2012 - Paris / Lyon
* IN ST JOHANN' - LP/CD - Gaffer Records - 2013 - St Johann in Tirol
* STRUGGLING IN PUBLIC' - CDR - Norwegianism Records - 2014 - Paris, London, Newcastle, Berlin

REVIEW OF 'IN':

"Invented by American ophthalmologist Adelbert Ames in 1934, the room bearing his name is a trapezoidal space that appears to be cubic, an elaborate three-dimensional optical illusion in which a person standing in one corner looks like a dwarf while someone in the opposite corner appears to be a giant. It's also the name of this trio featuring French alto saxophonist Jean-Luc Guionnet and expat Aussies Clayton Thomas (bass) and Will Guthrie (drums). The explanation of the name they've chosen for themselves might lie in the inverted commas Guionnet places strategically around the word "jazz" in the discography on his website - though technically I can think of very few saxophonists in the world today who can hold a candle to him (Frank Gratkowski and Marco Eneidi come to mind), Jean-Luc Guionnet has always, as it were, held jazz at arm's length, as if afraid that his other musical activities as a lowercase improviser, sound artist, organist and composer (not to mention writer and painter - we're talkin' renaissance man here) might be somehow tainted if he were considered to be "just another firebreather" (ten years on, he's still unhappy about the name of the quartet he plays in with me, Return Of The New Thing). But whether you choose to listen to your free jazz in quotation marks or not, make no mistake: his blowing on In is truly spectacular, hounding his motivic material down with the persistence of a Terminator and blasting it to shit once he traps it in the corner of the Ames Room. That shouldn't in any way minimise the contributions of his sparring partners either - it's a treat to hear Guthrie playing on a kit instead of his habitual electronic percussion rig (fans of his EAI stuff should also know that he's also a huge fan of free jazz, and came perilously close to interviewing Roscoe Mitchell for this magazine a couple of years ago... What a shame that didn't come to pass), and Thomas gives the music plenty of well-aimed kicks to the low end. To what extent you might want to consider this music as free jazz or not, and if so, where you want to put it in the "canon", depends on you: I'm frankly not interested in these pigeonholes very much any more - I don't care what you want to call this music, but music it most definitely is, and damn good music too."

Dan Warburton [Paris Transatlantic, July 2010]

THE AMES ROOM - * STRUGGLING IN PUBLIC' - Newcastle