Donat Fisch & Christian Wolfarth - Circle & Line 2 (Leo Records, 2009) ****½
Some ten years after their first "Circle & Line", Swiss saxophonist Donat Fisch and drummer Christian Wolfarth bring this wonderful "Circle & Line 2", an album, which in short, is an ode to music, and to life. In the best tradition of Dewey Redman and Ed Blackwell, and in nature maybe even closer to Don Cherry with Ed Blackwell, with great polyrhythmic African drumming supporting a freely singing and swinging sax. The reduced line-up brings the music back to its essence : rhythm and melody. The two musicians are modern enough to add all the necessary creative angles to keep the attention going, including some timbral explorations and extended techniques, as on "Merlodie", but not many. The focus is on the tune and the interaction. And that's a joy from beginning to end. Wolfarth's drumming is nothing short of spectacular in its condensed power, and Fisch's lyricism on both alto and tenor is excellent. It's not all polyrhythmics though, some pieces, like "Staika" have a more subdued sense, and "Elva" the long last piece, is a truly beautiful and slow spiritual song.
The session is very accessible, it does not require real open ears to appreciate it, and that's for once part of the fun. This is, as said, non-stop musical joy. The music and the musicians are a lot better than their first release. Don't miss it.