Steve Beresford and Satoko Fukuda – Ray's Jazz at Foyles, London

This meeting of two exceptional musicians on the outer edges of improvisation saw long-standing piano experimentalist Beresford and classical violinist Fukuda exploring the sonic limits of their instruments while combining in an appealing, richly communicative set. Beresford treats the whole piano as his workstation – reaching deep under the lid to pluck, scrape or dampen the strings, striking the woodwork, employing a range of idiosyncratic objects that turn the piano into a cabinet of curiosities. In a lovely moment, the flicker of a smile crosses Satoko's face as she glimpses the wine glass that's arrived amongst the piano's innards.

There's a chance element too – some of the objects seem to have a mind of their own, not all are used, and as the musicians chart their course through this extended soundworld there's an overriding sense of the uniqueness of tonight's performance. Quick thinking and impeccable timing (the piano lid snapping shut!) make for an exciting listening - and visual - experience.   Impressively, amid the fast-flowing changes and unending invention, the two give each other plenty of

space – they meet and separate, or dart between one another. At one point Beresford simply stops because Fukuda's sound is so beautiful. A memorable sequence of sliding and scraping creates a sound like the squall of fireworks, while the breathtaking close of the second improvisation has the musicians playing in their highest registers with volume down to a whisper. At other times they're in opposition – exquisitely expressive violin against hard-edged keyboard for instance – though both players explore lyrical and percussive directions and probe dynamic extremes.   The endings to all three improvisations are magical moments where it seems time stops or the music is simply set free. With no repetition and no discernable structure, we have to sharpen our listening – but this is adventurous, intuitive music-making that's well worth tuning into. – Philip Hogg

The Write Stuff

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