Phil Miller and Fred Baker live at Roppongi Pit Inn, Tokyo, Japan, 21.12.1991. With surprise guests…
In Cahoots bassist Fred Baker is a premium musician of many facets. He is a Professor of music at the Birmingham Conservatoire, a composer and a fully featured guitar whizz. While anyone present when Fred (in bass mode) hits his Fuzz Pedal of Ultimate and Terminal Filth will know how his passion for motorbikes has informed his musical character, the more refined and introspective side of him found a perfect expression in his guitar duo with Phil heard on the exquisite Double Up album.
Fred was always highly attuned to the emotional twists and turns in Phil’s compositions and I love his harmonic overlays and commentary. It takes a musician of uncommon sensitivity to expand on Phil’s harmonic systems without overwhelming their economy; nothing in Phil’s music happened by accident and in Fred he found a foil as meticulous and detail conscious as himself.
Here Phil and Fred appear at the famous Roppongi Pit Inn, Tokyo for a set of palpable intimacy that morphs into one of the gutsiest and most spiritually assertive gigs I have heard.
I’ve mentioned before that Eastern Region is one of my absolute fave Phil tunes and it’s lovely to hear it’s poignant English character kicking off the set here. In contrast Nowadays a Silhouette adopts an evocatively languid continental mood in this format.
Another gear change and Fred spins lines of octave leaping gypsy nonchalance on Underdub before chopping out melodies in ferocious fifths a la Wes Montgomery. There is no mystery at all why Fred had his right hand patented (only he is allowed to use it).
Fred’s composition For Christine is given a perfectly crafted and delicate arrangement and Phil and Fred truly lock in as one entity. The playing here from both is touchingly peaceful and focused.
Above and Below is one of Phil’s most monumental compositions. This version has an unmatched gravitas and at this point Phil announces the first in a series of very special guests…
As the evening progresses Second Sight, in particular steams along thrillingly and I would like to draw your attention here to a delightful example of Phil’s examplary rhythm playing.
…so, without giving too much away, it’s sufficient to say that all participants are on joyously lunatic form, and so will you be after experiencing this testament to a very special evening that is best experienced in one chunk of listening pleasure, as it happened, and without skipping ahead for sneak previews!