Bay's Leap | Swans over Dorking

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Avant Garde: Free Improvisation Classical: Contemporary Moods: Instrumental
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Swans over Dorking

by Bay's Leap

Is this jazz? Is this classical music? Is this contemporary music? Is this experimental music? Yes or No. Is this improvised music? Yes, Yes. Is this the sumptuous sound of a skilled chamber group improvising in all these styles? Yes - without a doubt.
Genre: Avant Garde: Free Improvisation
Release Date: 

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  Song Share Time Download
1. The Fading Light
4:28 $0.99
2. Worker's Playtime
1:29 $0.99
3. Chasing Shadows
2:11 $0.99
4. Bate's Motel
4:56 $0.99
5. Hanky Panky
2:50 $0.99
6. Swans over Dorking
7:37 $0.99
7. Two Minus One Equals Three
2:49 $0.99
8. Shepherds' Quadrille
7:17 $0.99
9. Angula Logic
4:14 $0.99
10. Sugar Twist
2:38 $0.99
11. Not Drowning but Waving
2:06 $0.99
Downloads are available as MP3-320 files.


Album Notes
Dorking is an attractive former market town, close to London. Nice, but a little dull and a little too comfortable for its own good. Do swans fly over Dorking? Perhaps, perhaps not. But it is a transformational image, a sudden transmutation from the prosaic to the magical. This is exactly the same kind of alchemy that happens when Bay's Leap improvise together. As Veryan Weston writes on the album notes:

"The significant aspect of this CD is that the making of it is a very different process from the way classical contemporary chamber music is normally made. Here it is a shared composition and the three musicians form a very impressive team. They prove that it is possible to make music with all these overt seemingly 'classical/contemporary chamber music' references but through the process of improvisation."

Adam Baruch said in his review of 'Swans over Dorking':

"Improvised music is often harsh and chaotic, making it almost impossible to be listened to by listeners with no experience with the avant garde. The beauty of this music is, among other things, its accessibility to a relatively wide audience, without any compromise as to its aesthetic and artistic valour. It is good to see that the British tradition of Improvised Music is alive and kicking in spite of the harsh conditions surrounding creativity and individualism. "

" I can only recommend this wonderful album to all true music connoisseurs, regardless of their default musical inclinations. This music is able to penetrate the barriers of unfamiliarity and outlandishness by sheer power of its beauty and unadulterated ingenuity. Well done indeed!"

The pianist and composer Douglas Finch also comments:

"From the spare, economical treatment of the opening track, ‘Fading Light’, through to the last track with its lovely sense of mood, colour and line, Bay’s Leap display great fluidity, freedom, rhythmic energy and variety. The title track, ‘Swans over Dorking’ culminates with a Kurt Weillish tune that enters - or rather floats onto the scene, swan-like, leading to a beautiful lament fluttering on the waves. This is an improvising trio that really gels”

The three musicians possess both a shared sensibility and a rapid response to each other's ideas. Whilst many improvisers focus on texture, Bay's Leap are comfortable with tonality, if that is where the music is leading. James Barralet, on cello, possesses the kind of lush, rich tone that brings him freelance work with a variety of orchestras, including the London Symphony Orchestra. Clare Simmonds, on piano, has also trained to an extremely high level in the classical repertoire, but it is her instant response to pitch, tone and melody as well as her sensitivity to group dynamics which so influences the music the group create. Noel Taylor, on clarinet, is not from that kind of classical background, but seems entirely at home in this musical company, often initiating changes of direction that spring, unheralded from his instrument with instinctive confidence.

This is an unusual group of improvisers. There is, as Veryan Weston notes, 'a very contemporary feel' to 'Swans over Dorking', some might consider the outcome to be aimed consciously towards the post-modern, but the trio themselves would deny this. They play for pleasure, they play for joy, and they play for the knowledge of sharing those rare moments where the music itself seems to insist on its form and outcome.



to write a review

Sebastian Sterkowicz

Like a picture
Balanced dissonances, sneaky off key moments. Very solid piece of improvisation, perfect trio for contemporary music.

John Sargent

Much enjoyed!
Very clever. And fun. Well done.


Auditory velvet
The music of this album is so captivating. It draws you into the artists world and disarms you - until you find yourself in the auditory sensory equivalent of being naked, wrapped in velvet and carried to a new world. This is improvisation at it's best.

José Menor

Wonderful CD!!!!!
A wonderful work, completely spontaneous and extremely intuitive. I enjoyed really very much!! Bravo!

William simmonds

Simply staggering....

Kate Currie

An exciting and impressive nuanced challenge to conventional dichotomies . Improvisation at its best. Sometimes, to the uninitiated , improvised music can sound discordant and difficult to grasp, but not this - it transcends categorisation and is simply superb.