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På skive


«One Foot in the Air»
NOTTWO, MW1029-2

KAUČIČ  In the inner sleeve of One Foot in the Air there is a photo of Ludwig Sik capturing the Slovenian master drummer-percussionist Zlatko Kaučič lying on the floor and playing with brushes on the button of the piano of Austrian pianist Elisabeth Harnik, with one of his feet in the air. This rare moment also captures the essence of this free improvised meeting between two gifted and idiosyncratic improvisers, recorded live in concert at Kulturhalle Eggersdorf in Austria in June 2022.

Harnik and Kaučič (who is a generation older than Harnik) performed before with French double bass master Joëlle Léandre, with whom both Harnik and Kaučič have long-standing collaborations, but One Foot in the Air is their first duo recording. The album features five inventive and imaginative talks –  «One Foot In The Air I- V» – where Harnik and Kaučič exhaust passionately an impressive array of extended techniques, playing all over and inside the piano and drumming on anything possible, and at times it is almost impossible to tell who producing which sounds. But there is much more in this meeting. Harnik, who is a Deep Listening Certificate Holder, and Kaučič, know how important is to play with full, emphatic and compassionate consciousness to your partner’s moves and how such intimate dynamics can challenge each other, encourage risk-taking and lead to the unpredictable, like playing with one foot in the air.

Harnik and Kaučič are totally in the moment during this performance and there is no way to anticipate what course they will take, even after repeated listening. They may play the most intense and physical kind of free jazz possible and soon afterward will dive into a delicate children’s song, or sparse and magical percussive sounds before exploring another playful sonic storm. This great performance is concluded with «Last Steps», a heartfelt tribute to Heimo Steps, «the heart and muscles» of Graz’s jazz scene who passed away in 2022.

Eyal Hareuveni

Elisabeth Harnik (piano), Zlatko Kaučič (drums and percussion)

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