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Monday, April 27, 2020

Fabian Dudek –Creating Meaning (fixcel Records, 2019) ****

The classic jazz quartet is certainly part of jazz’s orthodoxy by now. If you want to consider the glass as half full, then it is for many good reasons. The quartet of Fabian Dudek on sax, David Helm on acoustic bass, Fabian Arend on drums and Felix Hauptmann on piano and synthesizer proves quite capable of maintaining and furthering this great tradition.

Dudek is the quartet’s leader as all the compositions are solely his. But his leadership stops at this point. In all of the eight tracks that consist the bulk of Creating Meaning his saxophone is in constant interaction with his fellow players. This cd, recorded at The Loft in Cologne earlier in 2019, is almost in equal parts composed music and improvisations. There’s a Coltraneish feeling that runs through the whole 46 minutes of Creating Meaning.

As I mentioned earlier on, we always expect some certain approach and cohesion when we are listening to the classic jazz quartet. From that point on, it’s up to the musicians to present the listener their thoughts, ideas and energy. It could be contradictory (and why not?) to comment that the cd’s main power comes from the smaller fragments that constitute the whole of it. Duos between the musicians that form on the spot. Instruments that come into the fore, before they make room for others. Listening repeatedly I’ve never encountered the same ideas twice, never realized that this recording has preconceived ideas that will never change.

Quite the contrary. I hear fluidity. The feeling is that of interaction and constant non linear approach to their playing. The rhythm section is never fixed on just keeping the rhythm while when Hauptmann switches on the synth (an instrument i rarely enjoy in jazz) he adds extra timbre and a sense of colourness to this already vivid recording.

Let’s not get confused here though. The four musicians do not go all in for improvisation and are not keen on pushing each other aggressively. They take their time slowly, gradually until the create their, certainly meaningful and worth attending, message.