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
This transatlantic collaboration features the long-established partnership of Swiss sticksman Daniel Humair and German pianist Joachim Kühn, but the presence of saxophonist Tony Malaby further establishes the latter's fast-ascending status outside of the US. The reedman isn't blowing as belligerently as usual, tempted into exposing his softer side, his warm tone denuded of its lime-scale textures
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.
A tasty trio date from this under-recognized pianist, accompanied by the fine rhythm tandem of J.F. Jenny-Clark and Daniel Humair. The album leaps into gear with the fiery "Guylene," a piece that finds Kuhn sounding like Hancock or Jarrett at their most aggressive, his bright tone cascading throughout. He has an innate lyricism that, in his softer moments, recalls Paul Bley. In fact, if criticism can be made, it's that Kuhn often sounds like pastiches of various players, although fine ones. It's a bit difficult to hear his own personality coming through. The longest cut, "Open de Trio," is apparently improvised and provides still more strong playing, the trio gradually working up a serious storm.
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.