Recorded on March 16, 2010 by Christian Heck at Loft in Köln. Mixed on October 30, 2010 by Christian Heck at Tonart Studio in Kerpen-Horrem. Mastered on December 29, 2010 by Jim Clouse at Park West Studios in Brooklyn. Design by Oskaras Anosovas. Producer – Danas Mikailionis. Co-producer – Valerij Anosov
Tracklist: LP Side A – 1. Pusteblume 2. Upcoming hurricane 3. Arbol de piedra Side B – 4. Aeolus 5. Fighting the mill 6. Mongolfiere
Tracklist CD: 1. Pusteblume 4:38 2. Upcoming hurricane 11:44 3. Arbol de piedra 5:53 4. Aeolus 5:14 5. Fighting the mill 11:10 6. Rahonavis 4:56 7. Mongolfiere 7:49
This recording is dedicated to Patricia Boulet
is a new group in a traditional form, a particular concatenation of musicians that gelled with remarkable speed and which brings its own strong personality to the idea of the piano trio. It has a layered rhythmic dynamism that comes directly from the tradition and the exploding, unfettered energy of free improvisation. It was the young bassist Pascal Niggenkemper’s idea to put together this band with the brilliant veterans Simon Nabatov and Gerald Cleaver, and it’s a sign of both Niggenkemper’s skills and his prescience that the group possesses the depth, vitality and vision that it has.
For his part, Niggenkemper emphasizes the importance of this recording for his own voice: “This recording was important for me. It is a step to free myself up and to give the listener something that can’t be measured or evaluated, with no pre-thoughts or compositions or grids. I need to go beyond that. This is a record that follows intuition. It’s a rite–a communication that is very direct, avoiding preconceived ideas, patterns or cliché. That’s why it is related to something mystical, personal. If you take out the musical vocabulary, the trio plays music that could have been played by our ancestors.”
Listening to the playbacks, Niggenkemper kept coming back to the group’s special sense of movement, finding in the idea of wind a force that “reflects the spirit of our recording, a natural power that can be found in the trio’s communication. It’s a metaphor that reflects the way we communicate: sometimes very dense and strong over long passages, sometimes light, changing the texture. Furthermore we’re all from different continents and cultures: wind can be seen as a vehicle or link that connects us. It’s also a universal metaphor for freedom which we aim for in the improvisations. The idea of the wind corresponds to my aspiration to communicate freely with other musicians.”
Each of Niggenkemper’s striking titles invokes another element of wind and the closely related idea of flight, until one realizes that this afternoon of improvised dialogues is in itself a coherent suite, a set of inspirations passed back and forth as three remarkable improvisers become a band. “Pusteblume,“ which grows from Niggenkemper’s beautiful arco introduction (his tone hints initially at a soprano saxophone), is the blow-ball of a dandelion, the sudden explosion in air of new seed. “Upcoming Hurricane” may be self-explanatory, but the extended improvisation goes to the core of this group’s identity, first suggesting to this reviewer the parallel of Money Jungle, by the singular trio of Duke Ellington, Charles Mingus and Max Roach. Here there’s a similar energy and a similar sense of dialogue, growing to a mounting tempest of musical lines with Niggenkemper’s almost vocal bass (“Mingus is my hero,” he exclaims, when I mention the resemblance) chewing through the thunder and lightning of the piano and drums.
“Arbol de PIedra” refers to a startling rock formation in Bolivia in which the wind has blown away the surrounding sand to reveal a rock that bears remarkable resemblance to a tree. “Aeolus”, invoking the god of the winds in Greek mythology, is the sole composed figure here. Nabatov takes the initial phrase and builds it into a vast edifice that ultimately collapses at once into chaos and lyricism. “Fighting the Mill,” referring to Don Quixote’s adventure with the windmill, shows the trio’s talent for extended timbral development, a looming resonance joining piano strings, bowed bass and the light-filled touch of Cleaver’s cymbals in which all is a kind of anticipation.
“Rahonavis,” named for a small and bird-like dinosaur, may suggest flight in the very spaciousness that the three manage to develop, parts developing in isolation then suddenly converging, one musician’s phrase suddenly spinning into collective movement. “Mongolfière” refers to the French balloon and the dawn of manned flight, fitting metaphor for the way the trio takes flight here, and fitting image for the way the group is able to play at the limits of control—making sustained flights that continue to develop a sense of expanding coherence.
Listening to the sparks ignited in the group’s first meeting that afternoon in Köln testifies both to the group’s creative spontaneity and its special potential. — Stuart Broomer
Gerald Cleaver is one of the New York jazz scene’s leading drummer/composers, who covers a wide range of stylistic ground. Having played with jazz masters Tommy Flanagan, Barry Harris and Ray Bryant as well as the leading lights of the AACM, Roscoe Mitchell, Muhal Richard Abrams, Wadada Leo Smith and Henry Threadgill, he is a product of many traditions within creative music. Cleaver is best known for his associations with Roscoe Mitchell, Charles Gayle, Miroslav Vitous, Mario Pavone, William Parker, Michael Formanek, Joe Morris, Jeremy Pelt, Craig Taborn and Yaron Herman. He is also the leader of the bands Uncle June (a reflection on the personal and familial challenges of Black Americans during The Great Migration featuring TonyMalaby, Andrew Bishop, Mat Maneri, Craig Taborn and Drew Gress), Violet Hour (a tribute to Detroit featuring Jeremy Pelt, JD Allen, Andrew Bishop, Ben Waltzer and Chris Lightcap) and Farmers By Nature (a free-improvising collective co-led with bassist William Parker and pianist Craig Taborn). Much more on Gerald Cleaver can be found on his web page by clicking here…
Simon Nabatov’s musical education began at the age of 3, his father, himself a musician, being the first teacher. The Central School of Music and Moscow Conservatory were the next steps. After the whole family emigrated and settled in New York in 1979, Nabatov continued his studies at the Juilliard School Of Music. By that time his interest and involvement in jazz and improvised music grew strong enough to make them his main activity. Since then he performed and recorded with many fine musicians such as Paul Motian, Tony Scott, Sonny Fortune, Kenny Wheeler, Alan Skidmore, Herb Robertson, Louis Sclavis, Charles McPhearson, Billy Hart, David Murray, Paul Horn, Ricki Ford, Marty Ehrlich, Mark Dresser, Jim Snidero, Herb Geller, Dave Pike, Attila Zoller, Matthias Schubert, Barry Altschul, Vladimir Tarasov, John Betsch, Ed Schuller, Arto Tuncboyaci, Adam Nussbaum, Jay Clayton, Ron McClure, Mark Feldman, Drew Gress, Phil Minton, Michael Moore, Han Bennink, Misha Mengelberg, Wolter Wierbos and many others. He enjoyed continuous work with Ray Anderson Quartet, Arthur Blythe Quartet, NDR Big Band (Hamburg,Germany), Steve Lacy – Simon Nabatov Duo, Perry Robinson Quartet, Nils Wogram Quartet, Nils Wogram – Simon Nabatov Duo, Matthias Schubert Quartet, Matthias Schubert – Simon Nabatov Duo, Klaus König Orchestra. Much more on Simon Nabatov can be found on his web page by clicking here…
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