|Second CD by the same group in Leo Records catalogue. Peter A. Schmid, Evan Parker, Jurg Solothurnmann, Reto Senn play all sorts of reeds while Hans Anliker playes trombone. "September Winds" is a group of rare dimension. The chemistry is perfect. Short Strories represents a radical departure from the concept of the first CD. Recorded on the day following the tour of six concerts, the group goes for short takes - - 23 all in all - - sounding like highlights of more extended improvisations. Brilliant notes, as always, by Stuart Broomer.
For their fourth release, this hardcore virtuoso free improv wind quintet (Evan Parker, Peter A. Schmid, Hans Anliker, Jurg Solothurnmann, Reto
Senn) took a major detour from their normal methodology to make a truly unsual improv album. What we have here is 23 short pieces ranging from 44 seconds to just over 5 minutes, the brainchild of Peter A. Schmid, who plays clarinets, contrabass saxophone, and tarogato here. Instead of a normal free improv session, Schmid introduced a smattering of minor pre-compositional gambits to give the performances a compact identity, and multiple takes of the same strategies were made until the results were satisfying. The album is presented as a candidate for randomly sequenced playback by the listener and there's enough dramatic contrast between the instrumentation, dynamics, density, mood, etc of the pieces that it's a truly meaningful exercise. Regardless of the novel context, the group shows its characteristic emphasis on carefully developed interlocking themes and something like a comping/soloing distinction in functional roles that is, of course, open to all permutations, but often persists over extended passages. Like a lot of work by Parker and these other super-virtuosos, circular-breathing and other hard-won and deliberate techniques tend to drive the music into sustained structural fixations instead of the jump-cuttery common in collective free improv. In a sense the group aesthetic is rather conservative in its reliance on repetition and counterpoint, but the blinding brilliance of this music comes from the emergent complexity of parallel lines shifting slightly out of phase with other and the incredible detail and precision in timbre and phrasing. Significantly, Parker doesn't dominate the group; each player is simply so advanced that they comfortably settle into an exquisite balance with each other. From the Dixieland exuberance of the almost Hemphillian "Anton au gare (5)" to the faltering drone whispers of "Echoes & Shadows" and the splat-pulse tug-of-war of "Moorhuhnjagd", this disc has rare breadth and truly bursts from the seams with the limitless creativity of these musicians.
Evan Parker (soprano, tenor & contrabass sax); Peter A. Schmid (bass clarinet, Eb clarinet, contrabass sax, tarogato); Hans Anliker (trombone); Jurg Solothurnmann (alto and soprano sax); Reto Senn (clarinet, bass clarinet, tarogato)