STATE OF PLAY
Some improvisers paint themselves into sonic corners, where they naively regurgitate their prior much-masticated exploits. Then there’s Jon Rose. Forty years on and Rose still surprises the hell out of me with his sheer audacity; still dumfounds me as if I’m encountering beauty in music for the first time; still bamboozles me as deadly seriousness and blithest whimsy cease to lie at segregated points on an artificial grid, but intermingle freely and erratically as they do in life. So art, ceasing to imitate life, becomes it.
To call Rose an improvising violinist is like calling Leonardo a bit of a painter. He is a deviser of possibilities and a realizer of the most improbable ones. His volatile imagination results in exquisitely crafted instruments of no fixed parentage and in music that is a restless quest for the new. The first disc of this brain-detonating double album has him enjoying improvised duets with fellow adventurers Jim Denley, Freya Schack-Arnott, Clayton Thomas and Robbie Avenaim. The second disc reaches still further beyond the sonic horizon, making instruments of the Sydney Harbour Bridge and a humble Hills Hoist. Yes, really. This is my favourite John Rose album of all. Until the next.