Friday, April 4, 2014

Robert Kusiolek/Perry Robinson/Christian Ramond/Klaus Kugel - The Universe (MultiKulti, 2014) ****


One of the many pleasures of listening to today's improvised music are the unusual pairings of instruments one may find in certain ensembles. I was attracted to this session more for Perry Robinson's inclusion, but the clear star is leader Robert Kusiolek, whose use of the accordion is unlike anything I have heard. His sound is not like Toots Thielemans, nor something that one might expect from Astor Piazzolla's music. He brings to the medium a freedom of playing that is similar to what Larry Young did for the jazz organ.

The album The Universe is an eight part suite that is all about space and atmosphere, sending the listener into the vast unknown, evoking moments of beauty and chaos. The aforementioned Robinson is a strong presence, his clarinet sound moving in and out of the sonic waves of each part, like a drifting, spinning rock in the asteroid belt. Kusiolek's accordion moves from the background to foreground, alternating with Robinson for lead presence, almost like a sax player. Christian Ramond and Klaus Kugel, on bass and drums, do excellent work here as well. There is tension throughout, as you are led through their sonic world, going between moments of calm, to hard driving post bop, to some very exciting free jazz. The dialogue between the quartet is exceptional, as if they have been together for years, yet this is their first album together.

Outstanding!





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