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Tuesday, May 3, 2022

Vanderstraeten/Van Isacker/Stokart –qfk (self-released, 2022)

By Fotis Nikolakopoulos

Belgian guitarist Quentin Stokart is not very prolific. His bandcamp page really deserves a visit as you will find off the radar musics that balance perfectly between improvisation and structured music. This trio with him on guitar, Kris Vandenstraeten on drums (check out Vandenstraeten’s improvisational new trio on vinyl from Belgian label Aspen Edities) and Frans Van Isacker on alto saxophone is proof that he should record more.

This handmade edition of a few CD's has become one of my favorites so far for 2022. The three musicians grab you from the very first second of the first track and leave you breathless at the very last. All six tracks (plainly called parts from one to six) of the CD are so rich and full of ideas. The interaction of the three is amazing, stepping on the ethos of the tradition (now there’s a word full of antithesis) of European improvisation. But, the funny and so interesting fact about the tracks on this CD is its playful and energetic atmosphere.

All six tracks evolve around some basic ideas that only form the core. Beyond that, it seems, all three are in a constant dialogue with themselves and their partners. This dialogue builds a linear thread that doesn’t resolve to (so typical sometimes in free jazz) blowouts but to a non-ending flow of sounds.

All three instruments are pushed to their limits, forming, sometimes, a mass of sounds, while at others the individual playing is notably more present. But do not get me wrong, the focus is on the collective playing and the results that this produce. It is quite interesting that gradually and spatially they build an ambience of their own that gives you the impression of being there, the exact time of the recording, making this CD a very successful example that instant improvisation can be recorded and it’s fruits can be presented to us, the listeners, who were not present.

Clocking in over than forty minutes this is a rich, powerful recording that shouldn’t pass unnoticed from anyone interested in free improvisation of the day.

A link to listen and buy:



cf said...

Great recommendation. Excellent music and well recorded. Dynamic Range is 14.