Before migrating across the ECM continent, Stephan Micus outfitted some of his most formative expeditions in the territories of the JAPO sub-label. On these albums one hears Micus at his most elemental, turning every gesture into inter-spatial awareness. The album’s duration of 36 minutes only serves to deepen its intimacy as a space in which the listener might catch a cushion of meditation in a world of splinters. Micus’s practice has always been to render the stem before the flower, and in the album’s title track a table harp provides that very illustrative function. Its dulcimer-like heart beats a rhythm at once ancient and fresh, curling as the scriptural page, its edges darkened from constant contact with the hands. Those same hands cradle a method of speech so musical that its melody is discernible only in the freedom of solitude.
Since Full Moon Fever was an unqualified commercial and critical success, perhaps it made sense that Tom Petty chose to follow its shiny formula when he reunited with the Heartbreakers for its follow-up, Into the Great Wide Open…
Lee Konitz is a master of linear playing and a stylist on the highest level. The purity of Konitz intonation – that cool nobility which hasy been present in his playing since the 40s – is famous. Lee Konitz shows in this recording just how exquisite chords can sound even without chord instruments. But we have always known Lee to be one of the greatest spontaneous composers of Jazz. To play without chord instruments is absolutely no problem for a baritone saxophonist of Thomas Zoller’s calibre, it has had its own special fascination ever since the days of the Gerry Mulligan Quintet in the 50’s. Carlo Mombelli (South Africa) and Billy Elgart (USA) give a rhythm team that plays from funky to free with inspiring imagination. The result of this group’s unique partnership is a clear, transparent line. A revelry in counterpoint, modern grooves and sounds that ,sophistication.succeeds as seldom before, in a union of eloquence and fire.
The baritone saxophone is seldom heard outside brass sections of big bands. As a solo instrument or as the only brass instrument in a band it is a real rarity and there is only one female baritone saxophonist who truly masters her instrument – Céline Bonacina. You might be surprised to see the petite Frenchwoman pick up an instrument that is almost the same size as her but, when she starts playing, the mésalliance becomes a symbiosis and the sound flows out without effort.