STICK MEN + David Cross. Photo by Leonardo PavkovicSTICK MEN are one of the most fantastic trios around. Technically blinding and delicious when it comes to melody and, of course, rhythm, Markus Reuter, Tony Levin and Pat Mastelotto provide a unique experience each time they grace the stage – on their own or, as it was for a while, as part of THE CRIMSON PROJEkCT. They can’t be disassociated with KING CRIMSON, of course – nor that they wish to – and this link was reinforced in April, when the band played four concerts in Japan with David Cross, a former CRIMSO violinist. Now the results of their collaboration are to be made available as a 2CD set titled “Midori – Live in Tokyo 2015,” yet only in the Land of the Rising Sun, although there’s a download option for the rest of the world.

The discs provide a nice selection of the STICK MEN oeuvre, such as their take on Stravinsky’s “The Firebird,” and prog classics like “Larks’ Tongues In Aspic,” but most of all it’s about improvisation.

I asked Markus Reuter how did he feel about these shows, and that’s what the guitarist says:
“For me, the ideal band setup is a quartet, small enough, but also flexible enough to fill all the roles needed for almost any musical arrangement. Playing with David Cross was very easy and natural for us. It was like several branches of the same tree making touch and creating a new strong tree trunk. Our agent Leonardo Pavkovic come up with the idea and the Japanese promoter liked it, but the idea to use two keyboards with Mellotron sounds was my idea, though, and I produced and mixed the live albums.  We’re clearly part of the same family, and I think this particular quartet is also nice because it’s 50 per cent European and 50 per cent american which makes for a very unique sound.”

David Cross adds:
“I had a fantastic time playing with the STICK MEN in Japan. We’d never met before and yet played together like we’d known each other for years – a really emancipating experience which I loved. Great music, great vibe – it was win, win, win!”

STICK MEN+ - Midori - Live In Tokyo 2015 - First Show

“First Show”

1. Opening Soundscape – Gaudy
2. Improv – Blacklight
3. Hide The Trees
4. Improv – Moth
5. Industry
6. Cusp
7. Shades Of Starless
8. The Talking Drum
9. Larks’ Tongues In Aspic, Part 2

STICK MEN+ - Midori - Live In Tokyo 2015 - Second Show

“Second Show”

1. Opening Soundscape: Cyan
2. Improv: Midori
3. Breathless
4. Improv: Moon
5. Sartori In Tangier
6. Crack In The Sky
7. Shades Of Starless
8. Firebird Suite
9. The Talking Drum
10. Larks’ Tongues in Aspic, Part 2