Daniel Barbiero - Avant Music News
The Gift is a recording of the contemporary trio of brothers trombonist Conny Bauer and double bassist Matthias Bauer, and drummer Dag Magnus Narvesen performing live in Berlin in July of 2018. The dynamic within this trio is very much driven by both Bauers acting as coequal lead voices. Matthias is heard mostly on bow, which allows his instrument to project its sound all the more effectively alongside of Conny’s bright, brassy horn. Indeed, Conny plays with an assertive, forward tone, but the soliloquy with which he opens the second piece develops out of an inward-turning, meditative mood. Matthias’ own solo work is meticulously honed and especially exciting when pushing back against Narvesen’s support. The latter is a key element within the mix; he is a remarkably sensitive and inventive colorist whose muscular playing raises and lowers tensions as the music’s emotional trajectory demands. An excellent unit and an engaging recording.
Ken Waxman - Jazzword
A three-track live set The Gift consists of sophisticated rhythm section arrangements encompassing guitar-like strums or fluid spiccato runs from M. Bauer, plus pinpointed resonation or cymbal clacks from Narvesen as scene-setters for cursive brass streams from C. Bauer. Twice the length of the first two tracks combined, the concluding “GIFT III” is a refinement of the timbral strategies that precede it. Explored are both story-telling and strident motifs. From the top, descriptive string frails and inventive percussion clatter set up expressive trombone tones that mix grit and grace. Soon intensity spikes as vigorous double tonguing from C. Bauer descends in pitch, backed by allegro double bass pacing and bell ringing, climaxing as brass dissonance and sul pontcello bowing harmonize. With the slide equivalent of a dipping limbo squat, trombone snarls become weightier and wider alongside tremolo bass pulsations until Narvesen’s gong and triangle slaps presage a brass tour-de-force. As drum beats shuffle and bass twangs resound, C. Bauer creates a ‘bone doppelganger as the final sequence. Alternating between sequential airy squeaks and gutbucket bellows he creates two brass personas and completes the section with an extended terminal slur.