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Gunter Baby Sommer: Baby's Party

Mark Corroto By

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The music from the German duo of Gunter Baby Sommer and Till Bronner is best described as gestural, meaning the pair utilizes posture and body movement to effect an oratory—in this case the somatic nature of Sommer's drum and percussion work and the flow of breath through Brönner's trumpet and flugelhorn.

On the occasion of Sommer's 75th birthday year Brönner, nearly thirty years his junior, joins the master for eleven inventive and sometimes muscular tracks. Opening with "Apéro con brio," Sommer's wooden slit drum hypnotizes the ear with a tailored groove while Brönner chases a dusky melody. Their conversation feels spontaneous and unselfconscious throughout the nearly hour long session. But then again Sommer has had much practice at these intimate performances with players like Wadada Leo Smith, Ulrich Gumpert, Cecil Taylor, Raymond MacDonald, and Irene Schweizer, to name just a few.

The duo gives a nod to free jazz, but favors melody throughout. Their takes on two classics, "Danny Boy" and "In a Sentimental Mood" show reverence for the originals, yet allow both musicians to stretch the fabric of the music with time and manipulation of textures. With Brönner, Sommer has a player comfortable with the history of his horn from Blue Mitchell to Jon Hassell. He can sprint skidding notes against the speed brushwork of the drummer and blow slumbering sounds over roiling mallet work. The connection between the two players is quite strong, which amplifies each gesture.

Track Listing: Apéro con brio: First Shot; Special Guest No. 1 – Danny Boy; Flinke Besen; Second Shot; A Soft Drink in Betwee; Inside–Outside–Trip; Third Shot; A Little Nap in Between; Special Guest No. 2 – Der alte Spanier; Party Over – In a Sentimental Mood.

Personnel: Günter Baby Sommer: drums, percussion: Till Brönner: trumpet, flugelhorn, electronics.

Title: Baby's Party | Year Released: 2018 | Record Label: Intakt Records

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