The four musicians in the Kris Wanders Outfit connect at a level deep below the surface. Their primal collusion results in some dark and earthy improvised music that bares the soul while kicking up some serious dust.
Wanders, a tenor saxophonist from the European free jazz scene in the late 1960's has made Australia his base since the late 70s and I swear I hear echoes of the didgeridoo in his playing from time to time. Joining Wanders is Mark Sanders on drums, Johannes Bauer on trombone and Peter Jacquemyn on bass.
With a big, sometimes droning, oft times rough hewn sound, Wanders evokes the open expanses of outback and the crushed excitement of the city. He uses his sax to create myriad sounds, that go beyond the typical sounds of the saxophone to include ones that mimic angry speech, intense wailing, quiet rumination, among others.
The 32 minute 'In Remembrance of the Human Race' begins with Wanders playing a plaintive repetative figure tinged with a slight abrasiveness, while Bauer's trombone shadows. Adding texture to the proceedings is Jacquermyn's bowed bass as the song slowly picks up intensity and density. Perhaps we are hearing a eulogy to humanities, a recount of its rise and prediction of its fall, a nod to our evolution, up to and through the creation of our doom. The excitement is palpable. Crescendos of overlapping exclamations build as solo voices rise above. The communication between the players is telekinetic and inspiring.
The unfettered improvisation and tunefulness extends through the other cuts as well. A skittish start to the tune "Uwaga" morphs into almost a rock rhythm midway and then into simultaneous solos between the horns. Sanders and Jacquemyn are supportive and driving throughout.
Adding to this raw and natural mix is the album's cover. A crude and effective line drawing of a skull being carefully tended to by hands is evocative of the sounds and emotions found within. This album, with its dark hues and heaving pulse of life is a thoroughly enjoyable (and demanding) recording.
Listen and download from eMusic.
Buy from Instantjazz.
© Paul Acquaro