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Sunday, March 9, 2014

Anna Kaluza, Artur Majewski, Rafal Mazur, Kuba Suchar - Tone Hunting (Clean Feed, 2013) ****

By Stef 

When Ornette Coleman started playing his music in the late 50s, one of the most significant innovations was the omission of an instrument to play harmonic chord progressions, such as a piano or a guitar. The sonic result was a rawer kind of jazz with more possibilities for improvisation, free-er in its dialogue and interaction. 

This great quartet is a direct emanation of the same spirit, with upcoming German Anna Kaluza on alto saxophone, Artur Majewski on trumpet and cornet, Kuba Suchar on drums (both known from the Mikrokolektyw), and Rafal Mazur on acoustic bass guitar.

All four musicians improvise freely, shifting between free jazz American style on the one hand, with more pulse and common forward-moving dynamics - primarily in the first two improvisations - and on the other hand more free improv European style with short bursts of sounds and bits and pieces, often with a very physical kind of interaction, with lots of intense in-the-moment dialogues of extended techniques, sudden screams, sonic explosions and insistent fluttering, as on the third and fourth track.

The album ends with a typical Mikrokolekyw piece - or you can easily call it a Rob Mazurek inspired sound - with a more worked-out theme, a fixed rhythm and harmonic interaction.

... and to the credit of the band, and the quality of the musicians, the interaction works, regardless of their angle of approach, the four musicians connect, they play as one, reacting at break-nek speed, with all four instruments the whole time fully part of the action, sometimes with short reactions, sometimes expanding together on a thought, on a rhythm, and the intensity you get from the very first notes is maintained throughout, with the shorter last track coming as a harmonic finale, a kind of rest and moment of more relaxed reconciliation after the efforts that came before it.

Get to know those musicians ... and this album is a great introduction to all four of them.

Can be purchased at InstantJazz.