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CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Frank Gratkowski Quartet: Le Vent et la Gorge

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Multi-reedman Frank Gratkowski is a shrewd operator from almost all conceivable angles. And on Le Vent et la Gorge, the stylizations of drummer Gerry Hemingway's fabled quartet weave in and out of the full spectrum. Of course, this component is factored in by the drummer's appearance along with Hemingway's longtime band-mate, Dutch trombonist Wolter Wierbos, lending his wares as well. Ultimately, it's Gratkowski's hyper-inventive mindset that elevates this program towards its zenith, especially considering similar 2012 releases by others. The quartet seamlessly bridges modern classical with the avant-garde jazz strata from a structural and improvisational platform. It also ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Frank Gratkowski / Jacob Anderskov: Ardent Grass

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The reeds-piano duo is hardly overdone within the recorded canon, but then neither has it been as rare or unusual as some lineups. This particular duo is apparently not unaware of this, and there's a personality to its work that's entirely its own.There's a little of Anthony Braxton about Frank Gratkowski's alto sax playing on the opening “Narrative" but not enough to distract the ear from the profundity of the music-making. Pianist Jacob Anderskov's touch is, by turns, delicate and marked by Cecil Taylor-like intensity, but happily that name serves only as a point of reference. The duo ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Frank Gratkowski / Jacob Anderskov: Ardent Grass

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Over the years, reed/woodwind multi-instrumentalist Frank Gratkowski has formed a series of potent combinations with other musicians. His first was with Georg Graewe in 1992 before he went on to fruitful collaborations with Gerry Hemingway, Wilbert DeJoode, Michael Vatcher and Herb Robertson, among others. Gratkowski has the ingrained ability to turn the presence of his musical partners into a creative force that exemplifies the art of improvisation, and does it once more with pianist Jacob Anderskov on Ardent Grass, which was recorded live at The Loft in Köln, Germany. Anderskov has his career in full gear leading a ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Gratkowski / Nabatov / Schmickler: Deployment

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Armed and prepared for battle, prominent improvisers Frank Gratkowski (reeds) and Simon Nabatov (prepared piano) align forces with computer operator Marcus Schmickler for a sequence of strategic maneuvers. They commence the Deployment with haunting overlays, via Nabatov's clustered phrasings and Schmickler's ethereal, and sometimes subliminal, overlays or interjections. Gratkowski commandeers a free form impetus, spanning boisterous sax and clarinet parts amid shifting movements and alterations to the ensuing skirmish.

The trio synthesizes an array of mood-evoking frameworks via slopes and weaving layers of sound, complementing understated passages and steely interludes and generating a buoyant musical plane. The musicians ...

INTERVIEWS

Frank Gratkowski: Accept Everything

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Virtuoso German reed specialist Frank Gratkowski enjoys a particularly fertile range of collaborations, settings and directional thrusts. He was back in New York in October, 2009 with a trio that has released three albums during the last six years: Kwast (Konnex, 2004), Unearth (Nuscope, 2005) and Palaë (Leo, 2006). Appearing at Roulette, Gratkowski was joined by pianist Achim Kaufmann and bassist Wilbert De Joode, both of whom hail from the Netherlands. The gig is billed as a session of “improvised chamber music."

Gratkowski elaborates: “There are no predefined rules. What we do is what I call ...

MULTIPLE REVIEWS

Frank Gratkowski: Palae, Wake and Live at the Musik Triennale Koln

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Achim Kaufman/ Frank Gratkowski/ Wilbert de Joode Palae Leo Records 2007 Frank Gratkowski/ Chris Brown/ William Winant Wake Red Toucan Records 2008 James Choice Orchestra live at the musik triennale koln Leo Records 2008

German reedman Frank Gratkowski has become an increasingly significant presence on both sides of the Atlantic in recent years. Although perhaps best known for his quartet with drummer Gerry Hemingway, such currency ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Gratkowski / Brown / Winant: Wake

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This is a remarkably simpatico trio. The evidence is all over this program in terms of deft musical touches and the deep listening of all three members. Even in the most animated passages the music never descends into mere chaos, and there is an underlying logic which just might lie closer to the heart of musical expression than any creation of chaos for its own sake.

The sonic palette of the instrumentation is exploited to the full. On the opening “Slide" everything is lively, yet measured at one and the same time, with Frank Gratkowski's clarinet and bass clarinet hinting ...



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