Raymond MacDonald & Graeme Wilson – Cast of Thousands (4 stars)

Raymond MacDonald & Graeme Wilson – Cast of Thousands

Experiments in improvisation from Scottish saxophone duo

For its latest release, Lisbon's Creative Sources turns its attention to Scotland and the saxophone duo of Raymond MacDonald and snazzy shirt enthusiast Graeme Wilson. Both are mainstays of Glasgow Improvisers Orchestra, as well as leading lights in the Concurrent research network for improvisation across disciplines. The music on Cast of Thousands has arisen from experiments carried out through that network, and bears the imprint of MacDonald and Wilson's research into structured improvisation. Their duo language is based less on dialogue than an intricate simultaneity, where lines move in parallel, intersect and break away. 'The Bucket of Kimchi' is a dense weave of rapid-fire alto cycles from MacDonald and Wilson's bold tenor outlines, while 'Montelimar' offers a curious salty-sweet lyricism. 'Crow and Skylark' could easily be a dry exercise in extended technique, but there's real character and imagination to MacDonald and Wilson's chorus of avian trills and raspy squawks.

Out now on Creative Sources.