FUSK is the quartet led by Danish drummer-composer Kasper Tom Christiansen and featuring Polish trumpeter Tomasz Dąbrowski (who replaced original member, veteran German sax player Philipp Gropper), German clarinetist Rudi Mahall and Danish double bass player Andreas Lang, celebrating this year its 15 years of work with its new, fifth album, Absurd Enthusiasm. Dąbrowski and Mahall also play in Christensen’s Kapser Tom 5. This album is also Christensen’s 22 album as a bandleader and composer.
Absurd Enthusiasm was recorded live, with no overdubs, at Tito’s Zentrifuge in Berlin in March 2022. FUSK relies on the rich jazz legacy but leaves enough space for free improvisations – individual and collective ones – often played with a joyful swing, in lightning speed and with evident, enthusiastic and energetic interplay. The front line of Mahall and Dąbrowski enriches every theme and fresh ideas, with their imaginative language and always keeps the tension vivid (listen to their dialog on «Herbst Delights»), while Christiansen and Lang feed them with powerful, driving rhythmic patterns.
This approach is still effective and highly engaging, like watching a jazz band playing live at a club up close, and the ten new pieces radiate a clever sense of fun. But Christensen is a much more ambitious composer and matches Afro-American jazz (with a heartfelt tribute to one of the great masters, «Henry Threadgill», and a hard-swinging homage to a vintage drum set «The Slingerland Issue») with European compositional strategies with sober perspective and ironic ideas (listen to «Rondo a la Roder» and «Need for Tweed») and even incorporates the twelve-tone techniques for his compositions without sounding pretentious or academic. This meeting of four strong, distinct voices, who always serve the music with passion and patience (check the thoughtful, «Tålmodighed», the Danish term for patience), charges every piece with bright energy and commanding elegance but never lets FUSK surrender to familiar courses.
Kasper Tom Christiansen (dr), Tomasz Dąbrowski (tp), Andreas Lang (b), Rudi Mahall (cl, bcl)