186

Achim Kaufmann: Knives

David Adler By

Sign in to view read count
Achim Kaufmann: Knives Achim Kaufmann's first solo piano disc is a study in atonal expressionism and sonic adventurism, draped in dark mysteries. Recorded mainly at the Bimhuis in the pianist's home city of Amsterdam, Knives consists of eighteen fairly short pieces that showcase Kaufmann's technical excellence, his aptitude for instant orchestration, his imaginative use of "mixed techniques" (ie. prepared piano), and his firm yet idiosyncratic grasp of jazz piano tradition.



One cannot but admire the discipline of his left-hand bass lines on "A Dreg of Red" and "Marche B2," or his elliptical use of tonality on "More Than a Simple Shoreline" and the closing thirty seconds of "Sheets Surfacing Like an Ocean." Only six of the pieces entail mixed techniques, but their aural and emotive range is broad—from the muted percussivism of "Dips and Proclivities" to the whooshing and scraping of "Heavy Lace," the Zen-like calm of "Space Usually Given Over to Knives," and the pinging, Eastern-tinged high notes of "Sand Melody." In his liner notes, Greg Buium lists some of Kaufmann's tools: a plastic ruler, fingers, a sander, and a piano-tuning wedge, among other things.

There is a rich contrast and a good deal of overlap between Kaufmann's abstract sound art and his more "traditional" pieces. One hears it in the jump from "Her Hair a Dark River," with its crescendoing knocks and groans, to the stately yet obscure harmonies of "No Trace of Food, or Grief" and "Four Small Rooms." But the most striking departure is a seven-minute reading of "2300 Skidoo" by Herbie Nichols. Beginning with staccato jabs and harsh clusters, Kaufmann eases into the swinging melody gradually, using tempo as one dramatic device among many. His right-hand tremolos and neo-stride reference points make clear that this "out" player can access "in" at any moment.

Track Listing: The Last Vestiges; A Dreg of Red; Your Smile a Stone, Shattering My Breath; Dips and Proclivities; More Than a Simple Shoreline; Landscape Faux-Naïf; Sheets Surfacing Like an Ocean; Space Usually Given Over to Knives; Her Hair a Dark River, And in Its Depths Ghosts and Goblins; No Trace of Food, Or Grief; Four Small Rooms; Marche B2; 2300 Skiddoo; Heavy Lace; Of Water Plants and Figurines; Sand Melody; Windows Composing Trees; Beyond Which the Blue Trembles.

Personnel: Achim Kaufmann: piano.

Year Released: 2005 | Record Label: Leo Records | Style: Modern Jazz


Shop

More Articles

Read LifeCycle CD/LP/Track Review LifeCycle
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: April 23, 2017
Read Right Up On CD/LP/Track Review Right Up On
by Roger Farbey
Published: April 23, 2017
Read Wanderlust CD/LP/Track Review Wanderlust
by Bruce Lindsay
Published: April 23, 2017
Read Imagination CD/LP/Track Review Imagination
by Geannine Reid
Published: April 23, 2017
Read Evolution CD/LP/Track Review Evolution
by Greg Simmons
Published: April 23, 2017
Read On A Monday Evening CD/LP/Track Review On A Monday Evening
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: April 22, 2017
Read "Touch My Beloved's Thought" CD/LP/Track Review Touch My Beloved's Thought
by Mark Corroto
Published: July 7, 2016
Read "A Zoology of the Future" CD/LP/Track Review A Zoology of the Future
by John Sharpe
Published: September 23, 2016
Read "Flawless Dust" CD/LP/Track Review Flawless Dust
by Mark Corroto
Published: June 20, 2016
Read "The Organ Grinder" CD/LP/Track Review The Organ Grinder
by Chris M. Slawecki
Published: April 1, 2017
Read "Songbook" CD/LP/Track Review Songbook
by Bruce Lindsay
Published: April 7, 2017
Read "The Soul Jazz Beat Vol. 2" CD/LP/Track Review The Soul Jazz Beat Vol. 2
by Bruce Lindsay
Published: July 20, 2016

Post a comment

comments powered by Disqus

Support All About Jazz's Future

We need your help and we have a deal. Contribute $20 and we'll hide the six Google ads that appear on every page for a full year!