Die Blaue Nixe is one of those recordings that suspends time, almost daring you to enter its sound world. If you have the courage, or at least the desire, to have intimate contact with in-the-moment music, you'll be amply rewarded by the time spent with these three superb improvisers.
Gebhard Ullmann, who plays many reeds, has been concentrating on bass clarinet, tenor and soprano saxophone. For this recording, he assembled a trio featuring pianist Art Lande and bassist Chris Dahlgren as equals to explore his musical ideas. With his voracious mind and limitless curiosity, Ullmann brings an intensity and a sense of risk-taking to whatever project he embarks upon.
Ullmann always asks the listener to simply be present, to suspend a judgmental mind, and follow him where the music flows. His eclecticism should not be mistaken, however, for indecisiveness or wanton genre-hopping. His various projects, including the recently released and quite different Basement Research - Live In Munster, all share Ullmann's intensity of purpose and the joy of artistic creation.
The paradox of a jazz recording being an attempt to catch the wind, to freeze the ephemeral, seems particularly apt for Ullmann's musicwhich always has a strong spine on which it can simultaneously hang and drop. Now you hear it, now it's gone; this intense something changes space and time moment to moment, only to evaporate, leaving nothing but memory.
In describing the making of the record, Ullmann talks about getting together and rehearsing, but ending up recording entirely different music in a very special studio (which, I believe, is the same one used for Essencia). Ullmann, Lande and Dahlgren rehearsed to forget, and then played timeless music which allows you to forget yourself and just be, for an hour.
Lower the lights, put Die Blaue Nixe in your player, and allow this exquisitely recorded music of no-shape and no-mind to engulf you.
Blaue Nixe (Teil 1); Blaue Nixe (Teil 2); Verschiedene Ann
Gebhard Ullmann: bass clarinet, soprano and tenor saxophone, ocarinas, toys; Art
Lande: piano, toys; Chris Dahlgren: bass and preparations, toys.
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