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Wednesday, June 19, 2024

Alexander Frangenheim/Patrick Crossland – Basic Tracks, Baltimore New York (Concepts of Doing, 2024)

By Fotis Nikolakopoulos

The duo of Alexander Frangenheim on double bass and Patrick Crossland on trombone has been playing together since 2010, their interaction comes as a proof of their longstanding creative relationship. This CD, in Frangenheim’s own Concepts of Doing, is the next release of the label, right after the excellent trio Nail with Frangenheim, Michel Doneda and Roger Turner, which was reviewed here.

Consisting of five tracks the first two are live recordings from a concert at the Baltimore University, while the rest were recorded live at the Record Shop in Brooklyn, N.Y. All five tracks are improvisations, that show clearly how advanced are the two musicians in their take of how to improvise as solo artists and their willingness to absorb the solo mentality of jazz tradition into collective playing.

Both live recordings are full of intensity and energy, free improvisations that combine the syncopated nature of the trombone with the percussive sounds from the double bass in a non-linear way. I say non-linear as they, very willingly it seems, stop from time to time, gathering energy and incorporating pauses of silence in the recording. Their playing, though, is dynamic and intense, allowing the listener to call this music free jazz as well…

They seem that they possess the language of improvisation and are, at the same time, quite able to take the most from their respected instruments. As a listener sometimes I feel that a trombone could less equiped for free playing by nature. At least I feel like that after having listened to many recordings consisting of this instrument. But Crossland’s playing feels at ease with everything that comes in the way. Bursts of audio activity, silences, full on energy attacks.

Having listened more to Alexander Frangeheim’s music, I feel at ease with his compatibility in any situation given. His playing in Basic Tracks is flexible and relaxed but not in the “cool” way of many boring musics. He is eager to follow, to lead, and, mostly, to listen and to interact. Another great one from Concepts of Doing.

Watch the Baltimore show here: