Donat Fisch / Christian Wolfarth: Circle & Line 2 (2009)
Circle & Line 2, while having a very improvisational feel, is both harmonious and even-handed. Wolfarth utilizes every part of the drum kit but doesn't attempt to throw the whole lot into any of the nine tracks. On "Merlodie" he brushes the cymbals to create an ambient background countering Fisch's blues influenced lines. "Maria's Blues" is dominated by tom-toms creating a subtle Afro-Latin background that at first contrasts Fisch's long lines, before the two seem to absorb each other's sound. Wolfarth supplies a staccato beat from the snare or concentrates on using sticks and the rim at various points. The collective effect is a diversity of sound that is largely responsible for maintaining a high level of interest throughout the set. "Elva" wraps up the set in a way that brings the duo together in a perfectly harmonious closing.
Fisch, whether on alto or tenor, applies extended, fluid melodies throughout the collection and his playing is beautiful. The lesser-known of the duo, he is an extraordinarily talented and versatile player who reflects many of the obvious saxophone influences but has his own distinctive style. Fisch seems to prefer the lower registers but occasionally covers the full range; he can sound as soulful as Bennie Maupin, as blazing fast as John Coltrane, and knows how to draw on silence as well.
Though Circle & Line 2 fits neatly into the free jazz genre, there are no wild excursions here. Wolfarth never generates noise and Fisch is not given to honks and screeches. This is restrained improvisation that is readily accessible and very often elegant in a way that is not often associated with free jazz. There is a consistently harmonious organization all through the set. The duo creates the feel of a fluid surface; never far from either edgy or level but definitely closer to the feel of Euro improvisation than that of American free music.
Track Listing: Stalo; Marias Blues; Merlodie; Fur Christian; 15; Desmond; Staika; Besen Besen; Elva.
Personnel: Christian Wolfarth: drums; Donat Fisch: tenor and alto saxophones.
Record Label: Leo Records
Style: Modern Jazz