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In contrast to his work with the Charlie Kohlhase Quintet, Charlie Kohlhase seems to work more on the freer side of things on this KONK disc. In the liner notes trumpeter Keith Hedger says that KONK began "in 1993 as a band that could play pieces by its favorite composers, improvise freely, and generally just have fun." There's only one piece here by a favorite composer - Charlie Parker's "Au Privave." The rest are attributed to the quartet and have the flavor of collective improvisations.
That's by no means to say that they are merely chaotic or disorganized. In fact, there's a powerful architectonic to all of this - impressive testimony to the powers of each of these musicians. Hedger is a trumpeter with range and imagination enough to complement Kohlhase's rapid-fire flights of fancy, and he does so with aplomb. Occasionally he deploys a Milesian mute but more often he works all manner of sounds out of his horn, after the fashion of the disc's dedicatee, Lester Bowie.
Polar opposites, one might say, are the two tracks "Mandelbrot" and "Au Privave." The former, presumably named for the man behind fractal geometry, mines one note for an exhilarating wealth of possibilities. "Au Privave" is taken reasonably straight - albeit for a good while with Hedger and Kohlhase spinning out glorious lines simultaneously. So in other words, KONK finds music wherever it lays, and plays it superbly. Recommended.
Keith Hedger, tpt; Curt Newton, d; Nate McBride, b; Charlie Kohlhase, as, ts, bari s.
I love jazz because anything is possible; it has few rules and the best jazz breaks those ones. I prefer free improv because it doesn't really have any rules at all.
I was first exposed to jazz in my teens (in the late sixties).
The first jazz record I bought was Filles de Kilimanjaro by Miles Davis, shortly followed by Extrapolation by John McLaughlin.
My advice to new listeners is to listen as widely as possible and not to make snap judgments--stick with it.