free improvised music for Basstrombone, Bass and Drums.
The lower end.
released October 23, 2012
Those who have been scrutinizing the past adventures of Alfred 23 Harth – regularly reported on this very website – will definitely remember the name “Just Music”, a historic if slightly overlooked group that, in 1970, released a rather salient album on (then newborn) ECM label. Bassist Peter Stock was an important part of the collective throughout its course; after a long hiatus from performing, in 2009 he resumed activities in the ambit of German free-jazz and assembled this trio with Kuno Wagner (drums and toys) and Matthias Siegel (bass trombone), both affirmed specialists and teachers of their respective trades. This outstanding CD is the first recorded fruit of a hopefully fertile continuum for years to come.
Let’s not even deepen the sarcastic features of three central titles (respectively, “Küsse für Papandreou”, “Carla B.” and “In Bed With Merkozy”) showing that not everybody sleeps content with oneric imagery and cut-and-dried names. What we’re concerned about here, by now you should know, is how a record sounds. And Dreikönigstreffen sounds potent, agile-minded and balanced – a veritable jewel of forward-thinking improvisation that leaves nothing untouched. The lower frequencies – given the instrumental formation – are certainly an essential factor in the interplay’s impressive muscularity. Concepts are expressed with determinate imaginativeness and durable succinctness, assorted lines of thought fusing into a wholeness that doesn’t manage to spell the adjective “lazy”. There’s not a single hint of dogmatic posturing or smooth-talking frilliness: the acoustic body might be tending to the “massive” area, but the little nerves remain perfectly visible. 49 minutes gulped like a glass of fresh water, a must-have that sounds different from everything else.
Clifford Allen, New York:
German bassist Peter Stock isn’t particularly well known outside of Europe (and actually he’s fairly obscure on his home continent), but that shouldn’t deter anyone from investigating Privatkredit, which features his committed return to music after an absence of more than three decades. Stock’s recorded output is small – the eponymous Just Music (JM 001/ECM 1002) and the Alfred Harth/Nicole Van Den Plas Quintet 4.Januar.1970 LP (AH 002) being the most recognized – but his impact in those ensembles is definitely felt. He’s also heard on the three-CDR set of Just Music archival material that Harth released on his Laubhuette imprint and appeared at the 40 Jahren Just Music concert in Frankfurt in 2009. Privatkredit joins Stock on a series of thirteen improvisations with bass-trombonist Matthias Siegel and percussionist Kuno Wagner; Stock’s instrument of choice is a homemade amplified contrabass that sonically straddles the line between fretless electric bass, diddley-bow, and a standard upright. Amid the light, tasteful chatter of cymbals and snare and Siegel’s metallic, garrulous chortle and subtonal guffaws, Stock’s eliding pizzicato and indeterminate electricity provides odd contrapuntal tension. Siegel’s brass improvising is deft and has a penchant for the absurd; he’s certainly following in the footsteps of the brothers Bauer (Hannes and Conny) in getting down to business on the lower horn. Across the disc’s fifty minutes, some of the improvisations seem to revolve around similar bases, and that can result in a bit of similarity. Nevertheless, Privatkredit presents three lesser-known voices in German free music with clarity and strength, and it will be interesting to hear how their music evolves.
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