Frank Gratkowski - alto saxophone, clarinets, flutes
Achim Kaufmann - piano
Wilbert de Joode - bass
Tony Buck - drums, percussion
|2. Roughly Parallel||12:18|
|4. Tenuous Links Beyond||7:37|
|5. Small Ways, Chasmal||21:37|
|6. Tangible Thin Threads||3:46|
Gabriel Aniol - Jazz Podium
What does this quartet tell us about time and how to deal with it? You can definitely hear the passage of time in this recording, you can almost grasp it with both hands. Often the pieces germinate from the smallest sound structures and constellations to large format and to sheer overwhelming, to powerful pleasure in the moment. They are quite comprehensive improvisations, two of the six last over ten minutes, one even over twenty but not a bit too long, because this excellent quartet needs that time to warm each other up for each other in the respective piece atmosphere, no: to warm up. Both Gratkowski, with many clearly formulated references to Free as the driving force, never leveling, deeply dend on flute (for example on »Tangible Thin Threadsc), as well as Kaufmann, who rhythmically and minimally chordally progress always met adequately, as well as de Joode with meaty arco and pizzicato playing, sweating the rampant sound to band well-being, are consistently convincing. Buck's drums are changeable, but without setting too distinctive, individual priorities. Fixed time. And overcoming it: "Small Ways, Chasmal", the longest piece, comes up a mood and a flow - power and counterpower carefully balanced, Gratkowski and Kaufmann there: captivating and a feeling of immediacy that makes you long for live only more powerfully invaded. This band on stage: the dream of all dreams today.
Ken Waxman - JazzWord
Parameters are swiftly established on Flatbosc & Cautery starting with “Biomes”, the first track. Introduced with whirling piano stretches, bowed double bass and drum rumbles, the broken octave elaboration is interrupted with Gratkowski’s Trane-like tenor saxophone sweeps and patterns, which escalate to screeching split tones, As his input hardens so do the others’. Drum smacks and keyboard sweeps surge until Gratkowski breaks the spell with flute flutters. De Joode’s astringent spiccato and slamming string extensions are also featured. Overall there isn’t track that doesn’t benefit from De Joode’s his rhythmic prodding or enhancements, often created in cello-range. Each band members contributes to the tunes’ architecture throughout, whether it’s the pianist’s aggressive kinetics or comping tinkles; rumbling percussion tones which can add rococo decorations or intensify the beat with rubs and scratches; or Gratkowski ranging through his horn collection adding doits and spetrofluctuation, But nothing stops the narrative flow. At more than 21½ minutes or almost half the length of the other CD though, “Small Ways, Chasmal” is obviously meant to be the band’s magnum opus. It’s also a profound nod to Energy Music since piano dynamics and double bass plucks are secondary to the saxophonist’s harrowing reed slaps and smears with tone extrapolation into nasal whines and sandpaper-rough squalls. Buck’s ruffs and rolls follow along and soon the pianist is adding prestissimo pummels. At about the half way point though, cymbal resonation subverts the motif so that the narrative shifts from allegro to adagio. Seconded by place-holding double bass thumps and moderated keyboard patterns, Gratkowski introduces a warm clarinet tone which gives way to de Joode’s commanding strokes and drum shuffles. A final sequence matches slippery reed vibrations with buzzing string slides from the bassist. Able to adapt to varied circumstances, Kaufmann’s ideas and those of the other musicians make this disc astute if unlike musical statement.