|Recorded March 18, 2003.
Most impressive is Miniatures, which is anything but reductive. Recorded less than five months after the first disc, it finds the two Oles working out on a program of mostly their own tunes helped immeasurably by Theo Jörgensmann playing a basset clarinet, which is pitched one third lower than the usual clarinet.
Jörgensmann, who is old enough to be the twins' father, is a German jazz and New Music explorer who has been refining his sound since the 1960s. Along the way he co-authored the book Ethics of Improvisation and has played with, among others, Canadian trumpeter Kenny Wheeler, as part of Clarinet Contrast with Michel Pilz and American Perry Robinson, and recently recorded a salute to Ornette Coleman—an Oles favorite as well.
Besides their theatre music and other gigs, the brothers have played in similar single-reed-and-rhythm trio combinations since 1998, which may explain the excellence of the second date. But, of course, the creative inspiration provided by the German visitor helps as well. Listen to his a cappella showcase on "Theo I", for example. Using a combination of light-toned cadenzas, quick false fingerings and doits, he manages to play the sort of overtones and multiphonics that has him stand out in both avant-jazz and contemporary classical circles. Plus he does this while maintaining a pleasant tone.
Jörgensmann can also make it appear as if he's blowing two reeds at once, as he does on "Budda", where dark, legato timbres gradually transform themselves into vibrated split tones. Before the theme morphs into an offbeat tango—or is it a polka?—his horn produces a wide-ranging glissando that's backed by circular flams and gyrating bell tree sounds from the drummer, while the bassist picks out a bottom heavy continuum.
Unsurprisingly, Jörgensmann knows his jazz history as well. At one point he creates some mid-range Jimmy Giuffre-like lines that meet up with Brat's shimmering ride cymbal and Marcin's percussive pizzicato work; at another juncture he matches what appear to be strummed [!] drum heads and a walking bass line with a bouncy, double tongued Benny Goodman-style trill. Then there are the intense, vibrato-laden split tones he shows off elsewhere.
"Cocolique", which seems to be a restrained version of "4-4" that proceeds it, finds the reedman introducing some Klezmer-style inflections on top of Bartlomiej's bounces. And the piece ends with a quick slide down the scale. On "4-4" itself, Jörgensmann maintains a clear, clean tone even when his reed cries and smears. Triple-tongued skimming from a high, shrill pitch down to chalumeau level doesn't seem to affect the deft timbre either. Meantime Brat is shimmering his cymbals and Marcin shuffle bowing—that is when he's not interrupting the bow work for the odd hearty pluck.
In his solos, the bassist is most impressive on the title track, with an a cappella introduction that is mostly abrasive ponticello. Once the clip-clops of the drums and resonating cymbals are evident, however, he double stops subtle inflections over the rhythm.