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Blurring the boundary lines between jazz and classical music, German-born pianist Achim Kaufmann draws from a variety of styles as this improvising trio's founder and principal writer. Recorded at various locations while on tour, both in and out of the studio, Kamosc features an amalgam of European folk traditions, contemporary chamber music, primitive funk, blues and even Dixieland, providing these skeletal tunes with an abundance of history to draw from.
The album and tour were initially conceived by Kaufmann after collaborating with multi-instrumentalist Michael Moore and percussionist Dylan van der Schyff on the latter's recent quintet recording, Definition of a Toy (Songlines, 2005). Both long-term Amsterdam residents, Moore and Kaufmann have a shared history behind them, and Moore is a current member of Kaufmann's quartet.
As a member of the ICP Orchestra, Moore has also spent time with trombonist Wolter Wierbos, and it shows in their hearty interaction on Wierbos' two guest spots. Vancouver's Dylan van der Schyff is quickly becoming a ubiquitous presence, capable of handling both free and structured situations in equal measure, and his colorful contributions to this trio effort far exceed mere timekeeping.
Blending genres and styles, these compositions veer from austere reflection and experimental interplay to spasmodic flight. Pieces like "Sole to Soul" and "Skimble-Scamble" espouse casual free play, the latter featuring Wierbos buzzing and blaring alongside Moore during its agitated segments, which come and go without warning. "Scaremongers" showcases Moore's most outré playing on the record, and his fluttering, tongue-slapping alto sax seizure is an album highlight. The hazy, atmospheric ballad "Cuk" rides a dramatic arc, and "Corybant" employs fleet call and response with intuitive group interaction.
Embracing traditional notions of structure, "Kopfspinnennetz" is a loose, swinging vehicle for Moore's Giuffre-like clarinet, shimmying over van der Schyff's sprightly accents and Kaufmann's abstract interjections. Riding an abstracted funky blues vamp, "Roadside" features Moore playing melodica, while Kaufmann drives the piece with a determined left hand. The album closes with the deconstructed New Orleans vibe of "Bouche Perdue."
An intriguing mix of styles from an international cast, Kamosc is small-group improvisation at its most sensitive and responsive.
Track Listing: Sole To Soul; Kopfspinnenntz; Skimble-Skamble; Notre-Dame de paris; Ideogram; Roadside; Ghosts at the Foot; Scaremongers (Meandering); Cuk; Corybant; The Cyans; Blue-Brailled; Bouche Perdue.
Personnel: Achim Kaufmann: piano; Michael Moore: clarinet, alto saxophone; melodica; elk calls; Dylan van der Schyff: drums; Wolter Wierbos: trombone (3, 11).