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«And Now»
FMR, FMRCD583-0520

«And Now» is the second album of the free-improv trio of German tenor sax player Stefan Keune and the British rhythm section of double bass player Dominic Lash and drummer Steve Noble, following «Fractions» (NoBusiness, 2015).  Keune feels at home in the British free-improv scene and cultivated a close collaborative relationship with guitarist John Russell.

«And Now», like «Fractions», was recorded live, this time at London’s Cafe Oto Project Space in January 2020. The title says it all. This trio excels in the art of the moment and offers three urgent and explosive, extended free-improvisations. The restless and powerful interplay highlights the rich and expressive language of Keune on the higher register of the tenor sax, ranging from an intense array of shrieks, squeals, and wails, sounding as owing much to the seminal attacks of Peter Brötzmann, to more reserved and abstract musings, and the propulsive rhythmic conception of Lash and Noble, never subscribing on a rhythmic pattern but always charging the commotion with a manic rhythmic drive.

There is a segment mid-piece of the first improvisation «Well Then» where Keune rests and catches his breath and enables Lash and Noble to suggest a more introspective and sparse interaction, still a fast one, as this trio explodes – literally – with ideas even at such contemplative moments. The second piece «Whatsoever» builds its powerful free-jazz interplay through a more patient and open strategy that is often channeled into climatic bursts that are becoming longer and longer until the trio explodes with raw power and brutal intensity. The trio experiments with another improvisation strategy on the third and last piece «Finally» informed by Noble play with cymbals and percussion instruments. Keune and Lash comment on the inventive yet provocative percussive gestures of Noble. Eventually, as expected, the trio gravitates again into a rough and tough series of manic, explosive moments before concluding with a more quiet, surprisingly intimate, and truly poetic interplay that stresses the far-reaching and imaginative aesthetics of this excellent trio.

Eyal Hareuveni

Stefan Keune (ts), Dominic Lash (b), Steve Noble (dr, cymbals, perc)

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