Click here to [close]

Monday, December 28, 2020

Two from fixcel records!

By Fotis Nikolakopoulos

Music is inseparable. This given fact is very often neglected by all of us who tend to prefer improvised musics over more, let’s call them conventional, forms or genres. It should evoke feelings, let our desires and imaginations free, and provide solace and energy. Actually I believe that it does, even if for a lot of people involves very basic reactions –like “just” dancing.

The two latest releases from fixcel records have drummer/percussionist Erwin Ditzner in common but they are quite different in many aspects. Starting with the one is a live recording (wow, I am very close in forgetting how this feels), the other a studio recording. The live duo, recorded in November 2019 at Enjoy Jazz Festival, takes a free and improvisational approach. While the music of the trio is mostly based on structures and melody.

Erwin Ditzner/Chris Jarrett – Live@ Enjoy Jazz 2019 (fixcel, 2020) ****½


On both sides of this vinyl edition, the interplay between Ditzner (drums and percussion) and Chris Jarrett (piano) is impressive. Jarrett’s fingers move with subtlety on the keyboard, always ready to translate his partners moves into a cohesive collective feeling. At the same time Ditzner’s percussion work is aggressive and passionate, like trying to head the duo into uncharted territory. There are many improvisational passages and a lot of room for both artists to breathe on their own, while the balance with collective playing is always there. Ditzner’s drumming seems to open, at least in some points, new spaces for the piano to follow –sometimes even to lead. Jarrett’s piano playing is versatile and flexible again, on his own now, proving well balanced between listening and playing. The overall performance feel like it was a wonderful experience, one of those this dystopia prevents us of experiencing right now.

Debus/Lomsch/Ditzner – Die Motive des Richard W. (fixcel, 2020) ****


Richard Wagner is still considered one of the big names is the central-European tradition of classical music. Even though music is a universal, many times non-verbal, language, there are artists that still encapsulate the feeling of geography (topos in ancient and modern Greek), something that definitely isn’t chauvinistic of course, but has to do with shared memories, a culture maybe and definitely common language. Since the titles of the tracks, but most importantly the feeling that’s this trio (Ditzner on drums, Lomsch on clarinet and saxes and Debus on double-bass and singing) brings to the listener is partly like the grandeur of Wagner’s musical world, I was puzzled. Many times the trio’s music bordered on the symphonic: melody, harmony and timbres dominate. The sound of the clarinet is so soothing, like when –in an orchestra- the clarinetist plays solo in order to give space to the other musicians to relax a bit.

Again, as the aforementioned duo, Ditzner works like the glue between them providing rhythm, being the backbone of the music. When Lomsch switches to tenor saxophone things get wilder, more angry. The music, then, seems to be reaching out for a climax, shedding its mask of harmony. In a constant back and forth movement their music blurs the limits between free playing and totally organized sounds. But, most importantly, fills the empty spaces of the room you are listening to the music with feelings ranging for solace up to anger. Now that I think of it, this could be a fully fledged re-reading of Wagner’s music.