Christian Weber: 3 Suits & A Violin, The Amazing Dr. Clitterhouse & WWW

Celeste Sunderland By

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Christian Weber
3 Suits & a Violin

The Amazing Dr. Clitterhouse


Noise, nurtured by an instigator, creeps judiciously out of a processor. It's barely there, yet so magnified in focus. Silence takes on a massively contrasting role. That single note plucked from the bass string, again a few seconds later and then again, falls through the electronic shards that float so lightly.

Weight density in relation to auditory interpretation forms a big crux of Swiss bassist Christian Weber's new CD 3 Suits & A Violin. Sound translates into physics, as the bassist, joined by Hans Koch (bass clarinet, saxophones and electronics), Michael Moser (cello), Martin Siewert (guitar, lap steel and electronics) and Christian Wolfarth (drums), propel fragments of acoustic blurts into an atmosphere of sound waves pitched at high frequencies, modulated preciously.

The combined effect produces a fluctuating texture that alternates between hallowed space, void of breath but full of echo and crammed quarters buzzing with an amalgam of voice. Though varied in density, the album holds on to a strong singular sentiment, providing a pleasurable constant. The sound opens up at the end of "Frogmouth with a muffled staccato, like wind in a microphone that conjures the distant vestiges of a phantom battlefield. Suddenly the enclosure breaks open and the disc dons macroscopic proportions where listener concentration, if it hadn't already, easily adheres.

Two other recent releases bear the bassist's mark. He joins saxophone and clarinetist Michael Thieke and drummer Michael Griener on The Amazing Dr. Clitterhouse. The seven-track, free jazz recording showcases a trio full of personality. Whether cleverly jesting with one another or supporting each other on forays into murky terrain, this group moves as one. Even during solos, like when Thieke blows carefully into his horn on "Unholy Partners , Weber and Griener's presence is felt, gentle but sturdy, supporting their mate and filling out the sound with brushes and bass notes.

A dark maturity penetrates WWW, Weber's album with pianist Michel Wintsch and drummer Wolfarth once again. The musicians trace each others' steps lovingly. On "American Fondue , when Wintsch plays a poignant, atonal meandering on the upper registers of his piano, his left hand follows in obedient counterpoint, abetted by the deep current of Weber's bass. The dynamic is good and often tumultuous, as on "The Latter Half of a Century when all three unleash a torrent of notes. Though free improvisations are based around compositions, these tracks are contained in a way that the two aforementioned discs are not. While 3 Suits and a Violin and Dr. Clitterhouse succeed via two different routes of experimentation, (the former with electro-acoustics and electronics and the latter with the improvisational jazz trio setting) there's something about Wintsch's technique, his sudden outbursts and mini malist jaunts that gives the sound a more grounded quality on WWW.

Tracks and Personnel

3 Suits & a Violin

Tracks: Pony Music; Sun Perspectives; Buzz Aldrin; Camping Light Night; Frogmouth; Lone Star.

Personnel: Christian Weber: bass; Hans Koch: bass clarinet, saxophones, electronics; Michael Moser: cello; Martin Siewert: guitar, lap steel, electronics; Christian Wolfarth: drums.

The Amazing Dr. Clitterhouse

Tracks: A Dispatch from Reuters; East is West; A Bullet for Joey; Two Weeks in Another Town; Unholy Partners; Two Seconds; Key Largo

Personnel: Michael Thieke: alto sax, alto clarinet, clarinet; Christian Weber: bass; Michael Griener: drums



Personnel: Michael Wintsch: piano; Christian Weber: bass; Christian Wolfarth: drums.


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