Click here to [close]

Tuesday, April 4, 2023

FUSK - Absurd Enthusiasm (Why Play Jazz, 2022)


Any recording by FUSK is great combination of snappy melodies and free-jazz excursions, humor and wisdom. The quartet, which sprang forth from the compositional mind of drummer Kasper Tom Christiansen over a decade ago, features Tomasz Dąbrowski's tasteful trumpet, Andreas Lang's ebullient bass, and Rudi Mahall's brash and buoyant bass and Bb clarinet. Their latest recording, Absurd Enthusiasm, is a trove of intricate composition and exciting improvisation.

The music, while composed, is simultaneously spontaneous, thriving off non-stop creative interplay. Lang's bass lines climb and dive, Dabrowski's trumpet sails effortless through the musical hills and valleys, tracing the unpredictable bends in Christiansen's rhythmic flow. Then there is Mahall, whose playing introduces a crafty and unpredictable element of surprise and delight. The quartet knows how to play off of each other's strengths and make for an ever fresh and adventurous listen.

The standout tracks are manifold, beginning with the opening 'Super Kaspar' - which happens to be the title of their well received 2013 release - and here is a be-bop like flash of energy. Starting with a syncopated, tandem melody over a snappy drum and bass, the tune weaves in and out of the melodic head into concise solos. The follow up, 'Herbst Delights'  is a counter-balance, it begins with wide intervals and dissonant harmonies that tumble around each other, slowly coming together into a cohesive melodic exchange. 'Noise of Time' is a tension filled piece that sees Kaspar and Lang holding the rhythm back as Dabrowski and Mahall play probing atonal melodies. The gentle mayhem of 'Bacteria,' in which each member plays their own ideas, somehow still locks together, while the pulse remains a bit slippery. On 'So Ein Kaspar,' after intense undulations from Mahall's bass clarinet, Dabrowski delivers a ear-catching solo that leads the quirky composition to an end. The album ends with 'Need for Tweed' which begins with gentle 'jazzy' brush pattern from Christiansen, a walking line from Lang and then a syncopated melody from the horns. One can even hear wispy quotes of classic heads as the tune pleasantly closes out the recording.

Expert musicianship and a lively twisting of musical ideas around the solid song sketches provided by Christiansen make for a great listen. Absurd Enthusiasm is an enthusiastic and rich addition to FUSK's growing discography and a great addition to any music collection.