Wednesday, August 17, 2022

Stephen Gauci​/​Joe Hertenstein​/​Alexander von Schlippenbach​/​Jan Roder - Souldlift Berlin-New York (GauciMusic, 2022)

Tenor saxophonist Stephen Gauci traveled hours by plane and then more by train to meet up with this multi national, multi generational band. The legendary pianist Alexander von Schlippenbach plays piano along with Jan Roder on bass and Joe Hertenstein on drums, and the band creates three exciting lengthy improvised performances. "Soundlift 1" opens with spare piano and bass, then adding patient saxophone and percussion, and the music is starting to gain pace and friction, as the it heads to freer pastures. The collective improvisation tumbles and spins impressively with ripe saxophone expounding along side crisp rhythm work and colorful piano playing, with the saxophone dropping out briefly in favor of deft bass playing then returning with a darkened squalling attack taking the music in a new direction. Deft bass playing, patient piano, with the drums appearing, followed by the saxophone and the group plays together gracefully, with Gauchi adding some overblown saxophone accents to spice things up. "Soundlift 2" has a quiet careful piano introduction amid saxophone squeaks entering, with drumming patter and bowed bass adding further texture to a developing situation, with raw peals of saxophone crossing the horizon. Rough hewn saxophone builds over roiling piano, bass and drums creating an exciting performance, the music undulates through periods of near silence, then stark saxophone and percussion duet. There is a supple piano, bass and drums area, then the saxophone returns, developing a feverish collective improvisation with the quartet burning hot, gradually rolling back the intensity as the performance closes. A tightly wound band improvisation develops on "Soundlift 3" sounding nervous and flighty, rapid drumming and flurries of saxophone lead the way with flourishes of piano notes are heard. The saxophone reaches low doing heavy lifting, arcing upward with bursts of sound, consistent drumming and bass playing allow the saxophone and piano to range at will, creating vital music in the process. The music develops into a brawling collective free jazz improvisation with everyone playing their heart out in a thrilling fashion for a brief spell. Dynamic music, ebbing and flowing periods of quiet to sections of guided chaos, the music takes on a very free section with unmoored drumming and saxophone skidding across the deck, the music is constantly evolving and in a consistent state of motion which leads to a very impressive and truly collaborative album. Soundlift Berlin New York - GauciMusic Bandcamp

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