2

Gerd Dudek: Day and Night

John Eyles By

Sign in to view read count
When saxophonist Evan Parker started his Psi label back in late 2001, the label's second release—following his own solo album, Lines Burnt in Light (2001)—was the excellent 'Smatter (2002), by Gerd Dudek, the German saxophonist's first release under his own name. In January 2012, when Parker curated a week-long series of concerts at The Vortex in London, entitled "Might I Suggest," Dudek was one of several excellent German musicians invited to participate (along with the estimable Rudi Mahall, Axel Dorner and Alexander von Schlippenbach, among others). Dudek played with a trio also featuring German-born, London-based pianist Hans Koller, receiving a rapturous welcome from the enthusiastic audience.

The day after that concert, the four headed to Curtis Schwartz Studio, in the Sussex countryside, to record this album. As with 'Smatter, which also featured a quartet (albeit with guitar, not piano) playing six straight-ahead compositions, for Day and Night Dudek and Koller chose eight of their favorite tunes for their group. They clearly have excellent taste, and selected a mouth-watering program including pieces from saxophonists Ornette Coleman, John Coltrane and Wayne Shorter, bassist Charles Mingus and pianist Herbie Nichols, and alongside two by London's own Kenny Wheeler and one by Bach.

That material is perfectly chosen to showcase Dudek at his best. All the pieces have strong melody lines that are played beautifully—notably from memory, according to von Schlippenbach's sleeve notes. Koller, bassist Ollie Hayhurst and drummer Gene Calderazzo are a match for Dudek, mainly supporting the saxophone and framing it to best effect; they occasionally solo, but otherwise they leave Dudek firmly in the spotlight. Everything about Dudek's playing is enviably flawless; as ever, his tone is full and rich, whatever speed he is playing at. When improvising, seemingly with consummate ease, he fluidly spins out fresh melodic lines without a cliché in sight, extracting every possible ounce of emotion from each composition.

In the end, Dudek is so good that it can be difficult to avoid hyperbole. So, in his sleeve notes to 'Smatter, Parker said, "Gerd is a holy one. Music incarnate, an Adolphian centaur—impossible to say where the body and the saxophone separate." Von Schlippenbach is just as effusive in his sleeve notes for this album, saying, "Dudek is the Chosen One, blessed by the Lord in his sleep, indeed.... when he's imp(a)rovising lines, way out, with beauty, and so refined, we hold our breaths as one and listen, leaning in: a halo is deserved by him!"

Even those without religious beliefs will find it difficult to argue with such sentiments. Every track here is so good that it is impossible to single out any one as the best, but altogether Day and Night is one of the very best albums of 2012.

Track Listing: Step Tempest; Congeniality; Blues á la Carte; Duke Ellington’s Sound of Love; Blues to You; We Salute the Night; Fedora; Der Tag mit seinem Lichte.

Personnel: Gerd Dudek: soprano and tenor saxophones; Hans Koller: piano; Ollie Hayhurst: double bass; Gene Calderazzo: drums.

Title: Day And Night | Year Released: 2012 | Record Label: Psi


Tags

Related Video

comments powered by Disqus

More Articles

Read Estonian Suite: Live In Tallinn CD/LP/Track Review Estonian Suite: Live In Tallinn
by Bruce Lindsay
Published: November 18, 2017
Read Queen City Blues CD/LP/Track Review Queen City Blues
by Mike Jurkovic
Published: November 18, 2017
Read Latin Lover CD/LP/Track Review Latin Lover
by Rob Rosenblum
Published: November 18, 2017
Read Reclamation CD/LP/Track Review Reclamation
by Glenn Astarita
Published: November 18, 2017
Read The Princess CD/LP/Track Review The Princess
by Mark Corroto
Published: November 18, 2017
Read Provenance CD/LP/Track Review Provenance
by Karl Ackermann
Published: November 17, 2017
Read "Hourglass" CD/LP/Track Review Hourglass
by Paul Rauch
Published: May 18, 2017
Read "Prick of the Litter" CD/LP/Track Review Prick of the Litter
by Doug Collette
Published: January 28, 2017
Read "Pigs & Fairies" CD/LP/Track Review Pigs & Fairies
by Jack Bowers
Published: May 16, 2017
Read "Binary" CD/LP/Track Review Binary
by John Sharpe
Published: January 21, 2017
Read "A Rift in Decorum: Live at the Village Vanguard" CD/LP/Track Review A Rift in Decorum: Live at the Village Vanguard
by Mark E. Gallo
Published: July 27, 2017
Read "On a Distant Shore" CD/LP/Track Review On a Distant Shore
by C. Michael Bailey
Published: October 22, 2017

Join the staff. Writers Wanted!

Develop a column, write album reviews, cover live shows, or conduct interviews.

Please support out sponsor