"Guy is, of course, nothing short of a phenomenon, what with his, in the best sense of the word, sagacious blend of passion, all manner of technique, lightning fast response time and multitude of stylistic inferences."
"When certain musicians have been central to your musical landscape for two thirds of your life, when innumerable words have been written about them by some of the most distinguished commentators, when their command of instrumental technique and improvisational inventiveness is beyond all reasonable question, and when you have enthused about them on numerous occasions, what is there left to say? What you said in the first place: listen."
Wire, Oct. 98, Barry Witherden
"Barry Guy proved in his solo that he is the most awesome bassist in improvised music."
Downbeat, October 1993
"... Guy is master of his instrument and servant of a questing imagination that constantly transforms daunting abstraction into the strangely beautiful ..."
"... While the greatest entertainment was provided by the closing Stuppner, the strongest musical impression was made by the rapidly slithering runs and two-part harmonics of Xenakis' Theraps, a piece which Guy himself described as taking the player 'to the edge ... and beyond'. An area on the double bass where there's hardly a better guide than Barry Guy."
"For a complete contrast, Guy played five short improvisations he called Fizzles. Adding to his impressively varied repertoire of plucked and bowed sounds, he used a whole table full of paintbrushes and drumsticks, even the kind of wire brush that swing drummers use to create a soft wash for a romantic ballad. He performed the piece at breakneck pace, his hands moving over the entire course of the five-string bass from scroll to tailpiece in a blur, hands and fingers flashing like stroboscopic lightning bolts. Even more incredible than this display of superb athleticism, the music that came out was intelligible, intricate and altogether fascinating."
Stephen Pederson, Halifax, Nov. 1999
"... The visual or theatrical element is always present, especially in the bewildering complexity of his hand movements ... Barry Guy strays right to the edge of music and beyond, where only the bravest will follow."
Douglas Sealy (Irish Times, April 1999)
"All his music, like his double bass playing, has a certain style and exuberance: of virtuosity taken to its limits, of sheer guts and fun."
Financial Times, London
IRCAM "British take the honours": Barry Guy practically stole the whole week single-handed with the brilliant entertainment of his solo double-bass recital, a superbly packaged selection of virtuoso (including a gritty version of Xenakis's Theraps) and theatrical pieces (bringing the house down with his famous clown piece, Hubert Stuppner's Ausdrucke)"
"Bassist and composer Barry Guy is a force of nature. Always on the edge of anarchy, at his best he can pack chaos into concrete structures to make exquisite music. His hugely demanding Concerto for Orchestra Fallingwater reveals both his wildness and his ability to master it."
The Times, London October 96
"Barry Guy’s Fallingwater was a glittering orchestral kaleidoscope, according the players a measure of freedom within a rigorously controlled structure."
The Independent, London October 96
"Bitz!, as it is called, consists of ten short movements whose proportions are derived from Le Corbusier's Modular: and a definite sense of balance comes across ... the music acquired the intensity of a collection of expressionist woodcuts."
"... For those who may harbor the misconception that solo bass recordings are somehow monochromatically monotonous or limited in scope, Fizzles offers compelling evidence to the contrary. Barry Guy has given us one of the most fascinating improvised bass recordings in recent memory. Not for the timid, but it pays huge dividends for the adventurous listener whose ears are open."
Carl Baugher, Cadence
"... Barry Guy’s desire to break down the barrier between instrument and musician is best experienced by hearing Fizzles on headphones, which will bring you closer to/inside the instrument's gigantic vibrating body. This is virtuosic technique at one with a highly expressive imagination."
"Anyone who has seen Guy performing live will know that the double bass bequeathed to us by centuries of musical history is only the foundation of his instrument. He expands its forms, and his playing methods, by any means necessary: specially carved false bridges, brushes, mallets and amplification all come into play as Guy wrestles with his bass, and his body. It makes an immensely exciting visual display. While that aspect of a Guy performance is missing from Fizzles, his immense musicality is not. Nor is his slyly playful humour. The range of sound Guy gets from his instruments would make Mingus mutter, but the sound is always subject to the immediate logic of the moment. Fizzles is an exhilarating display of one musician's pursuit of that logic, wherever it leads him.
"Barry Guy, who is devoted to old music as to jazz and avant-garde, masters his instrument with incredible bravura."
Neue Zeit, Graz
"Guy impresses yet again as one of the best bassists of his generation."
"And in addition, Barry Guy happens to be a genuine virtuoso, one of the best soloists in jazz."
Es ist einerseits die souveräne, nie in Effekthascherei abdriftende Instrumentalistik, andererseits die zwingende Ereignishaftigkeit seiner musikalischen Fantasie, die diesen bestechenden Bassisten, Improvisator & Komponisten auszeichnet. Außergewöhnlich ist zu dem, mit welchem Gespür für Spannungsinhalte Guy organisch Erfahrungen mit klassischer Musik (Alte wie Neue) und Erforschungen im Bereich der freien Improvisation zu einem Individualstil zusammenführen kann. Guy ist zweifellos ein vor keinem Risiko zurückscheuender Spontanerfinder, der die Aggregatzustände seiner Musik bestechend zu variieren weiß. Von aufbrausender Vitalität fast bis zum Stillstand. Hierfür streicht und zupft Guy, jeden Quadratzentimeter seines Instrumentes nützend, flächige Entwicklungen,bei denen sich die Klangmassen in unterschiedlichen Tempi und unterschiedlicher Dichte ineinander wälzen, heraus, und im Gegensatz scharfkantige Mosaike, in denen die Symmetrie der Spannung der Außermittigkeit frönt. An extraordinary guy.