Jazzwise Feb '10
Dylan Howe / Will Butterworth Duo
The Rite of Spring - Part 1
The 32 year old pianist Edinburgh-born pianist Will Butterworth made a quiet splash with his ambitious yet very impressive solo piano debut in 207. Destined for a career as a classical cellist. Butterworth improvised on the piano at a young age allowing him a personal expression he hadn't been able to find in his classical studies.
For this second CD he joins the competently versatile drummer Dylan Howe, who has a similar sense or adventure as Butterworth. Howe can switch from swinging his arse off Blue Note style one minute to a sombre reading of David Bowie's 1970's electronic phase next.
Together they turn to the classical canon with their reimagining of Stravinsky's revolutionary early twentieth century ballet The Rite Of Spring ((this is Part 1: Part 2 is on it's way later in the year). Thankfully, as is the case with Howe's Bowie project, there's no attempt to reframe the work in a more traditional setting. Instead the pianist introduces the works mayor folk based motifs and deconstructs them for piano improv, mainly with a propulsive left hand ostinati underlying right hand with classical music's dynamics that sometimes recalls Ethan Inverson of Keith Jarrett.
As each piece segues into the next Howe lends nicely understated support, intervening with percussive counterpoint and adding layers of polyrhythm. It's a stoical, monochromatic set that keeps it's healthy distance from the original.
Next to emphasizing its motifs, dissonances and primitive, ritualistic sense of rhythm, some subtle connections with jazz harmony and rhythm are also explored. It's a pretty absorbing reading an one that marks Butterworth as one of the more original young prospects of today's scene.
Selwyn HarrisStravinsky - The Rite Of Spring - Part 1