The CIMP meeting between German improvising trombonists Nils Wogram and Konrad Bauer captured on Serious Fun
was one of the most unusual and satisfying entries in the label’s batch of 2000 releases. Unbeknownst to most listeners (myself included) the session that yielded that disc had an addendum. Bassist Dominic Duval, on return trip from Guelph, Ontario stopped by the Spirit Room shortly after the original session and joining the Germans engaged in a fruitful second one.
Duval’s presence makes for a strikingly different sound, as the duo becomes trio. The most obvious effect is that of his real-time electronics additions, which incorporate loops and processing. On the opening “Dark One” they create an ambient sound scape that envelops the twining trombones. The tight telepathic palaver so much a part of the duo recording is also loosened significantly to include Duval’s confident contributions. Wogram frequently makes colorful and expressive use of mutes framing his lines and patterns in even more effective relief from those of Bauer. Trading knotty slurs the pair butts slides over a scurrilous bowed counterpoint from Duval on “Getting Started.” The rustically flavored “Country Ballad” is far less abrasive in mood and approach mixing Bauer’s lyrical line with Duval’s softly throbbing shapes prior to Wogram’s late entry. It’s on pieces like this one where the CIMP sound really works to the players’ advantage and unveils the levels of nuance ripe in their interactions that might otherwise be lost in a compressed environment. Two duets are also included allowing Duval to dialogue with each trombone in isolation and explicit differences audible in each encounter make for one of the highpoints of the disc.
Overall, excepting Duval’s electronic atmospherics, which on occasion prove distracting, this companion disc to the trombonists’ initial offering stacks up to its predecessor extremely well. Serious Fun has the slight edge if only because of the sense of the expected excitement that surfaced in hearing the two trombones joust so adroitly in quick-witted confabulation. Fans of the heavy horn owe it to themselves to check both volumes out.
CIMP on the web: http://www.cadencebuilding.com
Personnel: Nils Wogram- trombone + mutes; Konrad Bauer- trombone; Dominic Duval- bass. Recorded: September 14, 1999, Rossie, NY.