Saxophone-piano duets have a long, illustrious history and the model of the genre – Wayne Shorter and Herbie Hancock no less – has recently been enriched by impressive works from fellow Americans Rudresh Mahanthappa and Vijay Iyer as well as Brits Jason Yarde and Andrew McCormack.
This offering is a worthy addition to the canon and proof positive of the currently healthy state of German jazz. Tenor saxophonist Sauer has been a highly respected figure on the Deutscher scene since the 50s while his two pianist partners, Michael Wollny and Joachim Kühn, represent the generations that have followed, the former making his presence felt in the last decade while the latter has been active since the 60s and made a notable entry in the sax-piano almanac by way of a whirlwind live set with Ornette Coleman in 1997. ~ BBC Music
Blue delights: IF (BLUE) THEN (BLUE) - for the first time, Heinz Sauer has recorded with Joachim Kühn. Together with Michael Wollny, they have created an exciting homage to Kind Of Blue.
One of the great piano virtuosos of our time, he is no more interested in showing his chops. His focus is on communicating the depth of emotional experience. Joachim Kühn’s work is centred on the pure quality of the music.
This 1991 release is a pinnacle of avant-fusion and most of the credit goes to Joachim Kühn's gloriously raw and distorted electronic keyboard sound. As a guitarist, it's hardly surprising that Miroslav Tadic would summon prototypes of ecstatic electric music like Jimi Hendrix and Allan Holdsworth, but for a musician best known as a pianist, and occasionally a rather bland one, it's a real shock to hear the same prototypes summoned by keyboards.
Boundaries, whether geographical or musical - for piano player Joachim Kühn they only exist to be passed. Boundaries between East and West, Europe and America, modern concert music and jazz and, more specifically, between various styles of jazz - during his career he has passed them all and still keeps doing so. Leipzig, Hamburg, Paris, Los Angeles, New York, and again Hamburg and Paris have been the stopping places of his journey; classical music, dixie, hard bop, free jazz, free rock, fusion, and European improvised music the stages of his artistic career. To him, changing places means giving expression to new stylistic positions and, at the same time, finding fresh sources of inspiration. However, Kühn is not a musical chameleon perfectly adapting itself to any given context. A virtuoso of the black and white keys, he is internationally considered one of the outstanding and most unique voices of European jazz.