An ad-hoc free improvised meeting of Brooklyn-based tenor sax player Stephen Gauci and drummer Kevin Shea (of Talibam! and Mostly Other People Do The Killing, also a regular at Gauci’s Bushwick Series of performances) with Berlin-based American pianist Liz Kosack (who belong to the collective KIM – Composed and Improvised Music) and Norwegian electric bass player Dan Peter Sundland (who plays with Kosack in the duo RRR and the quartet MEOW!). This live performance at Berlin’s Sowieso club was recorded on October 2021.
This 55-minute live set highlights the strong bond between Brooklyn and Berlin’s free music scenes. The music is full of energy, urgent and dense, and emphasizes the camaraderie of these distinct improvisers as well as the democratic spirit of this quartet. Gauci immediately set the quartet’s dynamics on fire, but he also insists on lyrical solos; Kosack is all over the piano, including inside the piano that is transformed into a percussive machine, and often intensifies the commotion; Sundland and Shea produce – separately and together – twisted, fast-shifting patterns that keep all on their toes. Sundland also introduces subtle electronics and his telepathic interplay with Kosack suggests delicate and clever percussive games.
This set was divided into four pieces. The first one featured this ad hoc quartet in full intense power and encourages sonic collisions. The second one focused on Gauci and Kosack dancing around each other in powerful, expressive moves before Shea and Sundland color this dance with light percussive touches. The quartet returns to its tense and energetic mode in the third piece, but now Gauci, Kosack, Sundland and Shea also search for more open, emotional and playful dynamics that would still leave enough room for their strong individual voices. The last, brief piece highlights the inventive vocabularies of these four musicians, including their extended techniques – breathing, bowing the bass as if it was a cello, and mutating the piano strings, before ending this set with a powerful coda.
Stephen Gauci (ts), Liz Kosack (p), Dan Peter Sundland (el.b, elec), Kevin Shea (dr)