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This trio of bass clarinet, guitar and drums knows a lot about achieving unity from a diversity of sources. Guitarist Frank Mobus is credited with the lion's share of the compositions, which ostensibly means he's more responsible for that unity than his fellow players even while it's the depth of their shared thoughts that really makes the music come alive.
It does so with a measure of both reflection and fire on "Ramallah" where bass clarinetist Rudi Mahall has a magnetic effect on the ear with a vocabulary of fractious half-phrases and squeaks. Then the ear adjusts to the fact that Mobus, exhibiting perhaps a similar impatience with known vocabulary, utilizes his guitar more or less exclusively in the service of color. Indeed there's a percussive dimension to a lot of his near-dead sounds, but that only serves to garnish the already largely unpredictable nature of the music.
By comparison, the opening "Polit Pilot" is less rarefied. With perhaps a nod to the Dutch school of free improvisation in view of the essential playfulness of the music, the trio proceeds by common understanding, highlighting as they do a willingness to reach for something exclusively theirs. Drummer Oliver Bernd Steidle is essentially the leader, his perhaps calculatedly stiff rhythmic sense ensuring that the music sometimes has a martial air, albeit one derived more from musical comedy than anything else.
The sense of fun is evident also on the neutered funk of "Die Deutschen" where Mobus's negligible, almost cyclical rhythm guitar is ironic in all the right places and Steidle gets to lay down a backbeat as though to the practice born.
Over the course of its two minutes and thirteen seconds "Tier / bla / tot" starts out at the wrong speed for vinyl fans, but the joke's a good one and its impact is underlined by its brevity.
It's not saying much, asserting that "Paulie and Christopher (out in the woods)" is something else because such is the spread of the musical fair on offer here that it comes as no surprise. It's as close to a known sense of the lyrical as anything here, which means another of the many facets is revealed. In general, there is an abundance of riches on offer, especially so given the modesty of the forces utilized.
Track Listing: Polit Pilot; Paulie and Christopher (out in the woods); Tier / bla / tot; Winterlos; Bremser; ASH; Rumba brutal; Banker's burning bakeries; Die Deutschen; Ramallah.
Personnel: Rudi Mahall: bass clarinet; Frank Mobus: guitar; Oliver Bernd Steidle: drums.
Jazz is a continuing revelation. The best show I ever attended was the
Roots Picnic at Penn's Landing in Philadelphia, or was it Robert
Glasper's Experiment at Lincoln Center, or was it Chick Corea with
Brian Blade at Oberlin College? Most of all I enjoy playing guitar and
composing beats with my Brooklyn-based group Space Captain.