London & Glasgow Improvisers Orchestras - Separately & Together (3 stars)

London & Glasgow Improvisers Orchestras

(Emanem Records)


For reasons both practical and aesthetic large ensembles have been the exception rather than the rule in the world of free improvisation. Both the London and the rather younger Glasgow Improvisers Orchestras have happily flown in the face of that convention, and the concert captured on this two-CD set from Martin Davidson’s seminal Emanem label brought the two bands together at the Freedom of the City Festival in London last May.

A melee of diverse and multifaceted sonic explorations ensued, some absorbing, some irritating, some just weird. The 27-strong line-up of the LIO is featured on seven pieces, mixing ensemble improvisations with ‘conductions’. GIO, represented on this occasion by a 17-piece version of the ensemble, perform pieces devised by George Burt and Emma Roche, and a group improvisation. Both bands are then heard together on three conductions, led by David Leahy, Una MacGlone and Raymond MacDonald, and Dave Tucker.

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