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På skive


«Yamabiko Quintet»

Transatlantic Five brings together American free music heroes – trumpeter Nate Wooley and reeds player Ken Vandermark, who work in the last decade as a duo, with the German rhythm section of vibes player Christopher Dell, known for his collaborative trio with drummer Christian Lillinger and Danish double bass player Jonas Westergaard (DLW), double bass player Christian Ramond and drummer Klaus Kugel, who runs the Nemu Records label. The trio Dell Ramond Kugel played American reeds player Sabir Mateen and German clarinetist Theo Jörgensmann. Kugel collaborates with Vandermark in the Escalator trio with the Ukrainian double bass player Mark Tokar. This ad-hoc quintet was recorded live at the LOFT in Cologne in August 2022 at the end of a four-day tour.

The repertoire of the quintet is inspired and informed by a shared admiration for and research on the work of the great American reeds player-composer Eric Dolphy, with instrumentation that references Dolphy’s masterpiece Out To Lunch! (Blue Note, 1964), except for Vandermark who trades Dolphy’s alto sax for a tenor sax and Dolphy’s bass clarinet for a clarinet.  Vandermark already led an homage to Dolphy, the c.o.d.e. quartet on Plays the Music of Ornette Coleman and Eric Dolphy (Cracked Anegg, 2018).

The energetic and passionate set begins with Dell’s «Around Town», offers six free improvised «Transition» pieces and Vandermark’s «En Attente». But the Transatlantic Five is not only an homage to the seminal, continuous inspiration of Dolphy and especially his Out To Lunch! as a formative, chamber, free jazz laboratory. It is also an inspired and thoughtful update of Dolphy’s legacy to current free and more experimental music aesthetics that pushes further and deeper the supposed comfort zones of free jazz, is well-versed with contemporary music, and is equipped with innovative extended techniques of all the five musicians. Transatlantic Five sounds already like a working band that defies musical and cultural boundaries.

The rhythm section of Ramond and Kugel returns with the newly founded German Yamabiko quintet, with the front line of bass clarinetist Michel Pilz, trumpeter Reiner Winterschladen and sax player Frank Paul Schubert. This quintet recorded its debut self-titled album live at the same jazz club, the LOFT, in February 2022. It also connects the seminal influences of free jazz with experimental free music, this time John Coltrane‘s ideal of sublime tonality with the rigor of new music.

The music of the Yamabiko is composed, with Winterschladen, Kugel, Schubert and Pilz contributing compositions, adding a cover of late Japanese trumpeter Itaru Oki’s «Sandrinella» and one improvisation. The accumulated experience, the strong individual voices and the virtuosity of these five musicians, all except Ramond are also bandleaders, allowing the quintet to navigate freely and naturally between dense, intense and tension-filled free jazz textures to more lyrical and poetic ballads, sometimes in the same pieces like in Kugel’s «A Glimpse Of Its Destination», Schubert «Curled Up» or Winterschladen’s «Beautiful Flowers».

Eyal Hareuveni

Nate Wooley (tp), Ken Vandermark (ts, cl), Christopher Dell (vib), Christian Ramond (b), Klaus Kugel (dr), Michel Pilz (bcl), Reiner Winterschladen (tp), Frank Paul Schubert (as, ss)

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