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Album Review

Potsa Lotsa XL & Youjin Sung: Gaya

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Potsa Lotsa XL & Youjin Sung: Gaya
German saxophonist Silke Eberhard received deserved plaudits for her trio effort Being The Up And Down (Intakt, 2021), but Potsa Lotsa, which has been one of her prime outlets for considerably longer, also merits attention. Originally a wind quartet convened to realize The Complete Works Of Eric Dolphy (Jazzwerkstatt, 2010), and named after one of his tunes, the outfit has grown in both repertoire and size. Now a ten-piece band, hence the XL, they are primarily a vehicle for Eberhard's vibrant charts. On the five-part Gaya they welcome special guest Youjin Sung, who plays the Korean gayageum (a type of zither, related to the Japanese koto).

Eberhard effectively blends jazz and Korean vernaculars into what is almost a concerto for Sung. Although she first encountered Sung in a performance by the Asian Art Ensemble, in Berlin, in 2019, she had already developed a fascination with Korean music some years before. As a result, during lockdown she acquired her own gayageum and wrote a suite around its harmonic possibilities with Sung in mind. All the hallmarks of her writing are present, tightly crafted intersections and overlaps, unusual textures and singing melodies, along with integral spaces tailored for succinct solos.

Sung's pitch-bending expression gives the work its distinctive flavor, whether alone or in consort with others, such as the string trio which begins "dul" or the fluttering rippling duet with the vibraphone of Taiko Saito, who reins in the unruliness of her communion with Satoko Fujii in Futari in favor of empathetic mingling. At the start of "ned" Sung bows her gayageum in a slippery careening double act with Eberhard's volatile alto saxophone, for one of the highlights of an accessible but adventurous album which does not outstay its welcome at just shy of the half hour. While Eberhard scripted the first four tracks, the fifth furnishes a brief coda of billowing collectively improvised atmospherics to close proceedings on an evocative note.

Track Listing

Hana; Dul; Sed; Ned; Daseot.

Personnel

Silke Eberhard: saxophone; Jürgen Kupke: clarinet; Patrick Braun: saxophone, tenor; Nikolaus Neuser: trumpet; Gerhard Gschlößl: trombone; Johannes Fink: bass, acoustic; Taiko Saito: vibraphone; Antonis Anissegos: piano; Igor Spallati: bass, acoustic; Kay Lübke: drums.

Additional Instrumentation

Youjin Sung: gayageum; Patrick Braun: clarinet.

Album information

Title: Gaya | Year Released: 2022 | Record Label: Trouble In The East Records

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