Patrick Zimmerli: Expansion
I get the same feel from the music of saxophonist Patrick Zimmerli. The 1993 Thelonious Monk Composers Competition winner opens his latest with “Sand” a fourteen minute drone piece based on North Indian and Japanese Gagaku misc. A bit confused, I felt the slow progression, heard individual players come in, state their claim, and exit. Interested, I was along for the ride.
Like Explosion (1995) the quartet clarifies their approach with the familiar. On Explosion they covered Miles Davis’ “Seven Steps To Heaven;” here it is Thelonious Monk’s “Evidence” and the classic “Invitation.” They cover Monk much like Kahil El’ Zabar’s Ethnic Heritage (percussion) Ensemble would, except for the percussion part! Satoshi Takeishi’s stripped down drum set includes a traditional Japanese taiko drum and minimal cymbals. He approaches rhythm as an equal to the horn, guitar and bass. His hand drumming on “Evidence” doesn’t keep time as much as it honors it. The quartet plays as if the songs are given and their role is simply to fill in the color and shading. For Zimmerli, Ben Monder is the perfect fit. His prior Arabesque discs, Excavation (2000), Dust (1997), and Flux, on Songlines show a pension and patience for Zimmerli’s vision.
Guided by world, classical, and a post-Coltrane vision, Zimmerli’s saxophone plays a layering game. Solos are contextual not grandstanding. His playing, like his writing and sense of time, relies upon length, blossoming and resignation.
Track List:Sand; Evidence; The Elements Suite: Fire/Earth; Air; Water; Invitation.
Personnel: Patrick Zimmerli
Record Label: Songlines Recordings