Dear All About Jazz Readers,

If you're familiar with All About Jazz, you know that we've dedicated over two decades to supporting jazz as an art form, and more importantly, the creative musicians who make it. Our enduring commitment has made All About Jazz one of the most culturally important websites of its kind in the world reaching hundreds of thousands of readers every month. However, to expand our offerings and develop new means to foster jazz discovery we need your help.

You can become a sustaining member for a modest $20 and in return, we'll immediately hide those pesky Google ads PLUS deliver exclusive content and provide access to future articles for a full year! This combination will not only improve your AAJ experience, it will allow us to continue to rigorously build on the great work we first started in 1995. Read on to view our project ideas...

5

Zlatko Kaućić: Diversity

John Sharpe By

Sign in to view read count
Slovenian percussionist Zlatko Kaučič learned his craft in the diverse jazz scenes of Barcelona, Berlin, and Amsterdam before returning to his newly independent homeland in 1992. He collaborated extensively with local musicians as well as illustrious visitors such as Steve Lacy, Paul Bley, Chico Freeman, Kenny Wheeler, and Paul McCandless, often utilizing composition and poetic texts. Not that you would know that from this five-disc set, which instead concentrates on Kaučič's command of unfettered expression alongside a stellar cast of improvisers drawn from across Europe.

Diversity isn't even the first multi-disc celebration of Kaučič's career. That honor goes to the triple album 30th Anniversary Concerts (Splasc(H), 2009) which included saxophonist Peter Brötzmann and singer Saadet Türkös. Since then, Kaučič's discography has featured a series of adventurous outings with high profile artists like Ab Baars on Canvas (NotTwo, 2015), Daniele D'Agaro on Disorder At The Border Plays Ornette (NotTwo, 2016), and Barry Guy on Without Borders (Fundacija Sluchaj, 2017).

Kaučič belongs to the lineage of tone colorists such as Tony Oxley and Paul Lovens, although he seems less beholden to free jazz expectations than either of them. He extracts rattles, reverberations, crackles, and other remarkable textures from a kit that includes homemade objects and electric zither, often alternating the resultant sounds in cell-like pulsations. He excels in the direct conversational environment of the duets on CDs two and five, where his unexpected timbres elicit surprising reactions. In larger group formats, Kaučič plays the full part while sensitively allowing breathing space for ensemble interchange.

CD one showcases a heavyweight encounter with Catalan pianist Agusti Fernandez and British saxophonist Evan Parker that constitutes the highlight of the whole collection. It uncoils in a stream of fast changing interaction and naturally emerging double acts. Initial flurries separated by silence become taut with tension. Kaučič perfectly paces Fernández's under-the bonnet alchemy as well as Parker's fluttering reiterations, split tones, and abstract lyricism. His transparency permits the interior piano resonances to be heard clearly in a tremendously empathetic trio.

Parker reappears on CD two, this time in a splendid twosome with the percussionist. After an incremental percussive start, Parker is focused and incantatory, which Kaučič matches through an unbroken rumble. On "Kras #2," the electric zither's sudden sonic distortion creates a conundrum for the saxophonist, who responds with a lightly articulated, circularly-breathed murmur. Further give and take ensues when the drummer moves behind his kit. On "Kras #3," they blend meditative minimalism with a tolling undercurrent, but the spiky discourse on "Kras #4" finds both men at their most intensely animated, invoking classic free jazz drum and saxophone pairings.

The nine tracks on CD three present Kaučič alone in the studio, with the percussionist as a painter of sound. The electric zither develops into a major component, making an exhilarating entry on "Drive Through Obstacles," which pitches the piece somewhere between noise and prog rock. He later evokes Sun Ra in some of his wilder moments and " Himna Za Mojo Teto Karlo" even recalls a duel between Ra and a free jazz drummer. Kaučič betrays a fondness for combining order with chaos as he mixes rhythmic cells with unusual textures, sometimes in call and response, at other times in striking juxtapositions. He fully exploits the studio environment, expanding his palette to successfully maintain interest, even adding warped vocalizations to the mix on "Predor."

On CD four Kaučič joins with three other improvisers: acoustic bassist Rafal Mazur and trumpeter Artur Majewski from Poland and Danish saxophonist Lotte Anker at a concert in Slovenia. They negotiate a shared ethos of collective improvisation, characterized by nervy exchanges, dense voicings, and sublimated egos. Majewski figures as one of the dominant voices, suggesting a Polish Bill Dixon with his spluttered, gusty smears. It's not until "Iconic Thoughts" that the interplay turns a little sparser, with a passage for tinkling percussion and trumpet susurrations one of the subtle peaks. This is selfless music that enfolds the listener in a warm embrace. One piece by this agglomeration, perhaps from the same concert, has already been released under Anker's name on Plodi (Klopotek, 2017).

The final CD contains two different duets. In the first duet with the late German trombonist Johannes Bauer, the twosome partake of stark dialogue. Bauer's predilection for spontaneously structured improvisation draws orderly rejoinders from Kaučič. The trombonist'ss muttered imprecations and exhalations mesh well with Kaučič's melodic/rhythmic motifs in a wonderful pairing. The second portion of the disc twins Kaučič with Phil Minton's incredible vocal gymnastics for a surprisingly percussive meeting.

Considered as a whole, this box set forcefully makes the case that Kaučič deserves far more attention than he has even gathered so far. He proves adept at both stimulating his partners to think anew, while remaining resolutely himself.

Track Listing: CD1 Butterfly Wings: Butterfly Wings #1; Butterfly Wings #2; Butterfly Wings #3; Butterfly Wings #4; Butterfly Wings #5; Butterfly Wings #6; Butterfly Wings #7; CD2 Kras: Kras #1; Kras #2; Kras #3; Kras #4; Kras #5; CD3 Rainbow Solitude: Drive Through Obstacles; Tonal Flow; Memories; Sip Of Story; Pokrovček; My Home; Himna Za Mojo Teto Kario; Predor; Mlin; CD4 Amina: Jara Kača; Nitke; Iconic Thoughts; Unison Creation; Trte; CD5 Med-Ana: Med-Ana #1; Med-Ana #2; Med-Ana #3; Med-Ana #4; Med-Ana #5; Šmartno Suita.

Personnel: Zlatko Kaučič: drums, percussion, electric zither; Agustí Fernandez: piano (CD1); Evan Parker: tenor saxophone (CD1, 2); Rafal Mazur: acoustic bass (CD3); Lotte Anker: tenor saxophone, alto saxophone, soprano saxophone (CD 3); Artur Majewski: trumpet (CD4); Johannes Bauer: trombone (CD5); Phil Minton: voice (CD5, trk #6).

Title: Diversity | Year Released: 2019 | Record Label: Not Two Records

Tags

Watch

comments powered by Disqus

Shop for Music

Start your music shopping from All About Jazz and you'll support us in the process. Learn how.

Album Reviews
Live Reviews
Album Reviews
Read more articles
Diversity

Diversity

Not Two Records
2019

buy
Il sogno di una cosa

Il sogno di una cosa

Caligola Records
2017

buy
Ena / One

Ena / One

Self Produced
2016

buy
Disorder at the Border Plays Ornette

Disorder at the...

Not Two Records
2016

buy
Schengen

Schengen

Dobialabel
2016

buy
Tolminski Punt

Tolminski Punt

Splasc(H) Records
2007

buy

Related Articles

Read Nexus Album Reviews
Nexus
By Jakob Baekgaard
May 23, 2019
Read The Second Coming Album Reviews
The Second Coming
By Daniel Barbiero
May 23, 2019
Read Luminária Album Reviews
Luminária
By John Sharpe
May 23, 2019
Read Jazz Band/Rock Band/Dance Band Album Reviews
Jazz Band/Rock Band/Dance Band
By Jerome Wilson
May 23, 2019
Read When Will The Blues Leave Album Reviews
When Will The Blues Leave
By Karl Ackermann
May 22, 2019
Read Infinite Itinerant Album Reviews
Infinite Itinerant
By Geno Thackara
May 22, 2019
Read Pulcino Album Reviews
Pulcino
By Nicholas F. Mondello
May 22, 2019