3

Frank Gratkowski Quartet: Le Vent et la Gorge

Glenn Astarita By

Sign in to view read count
Frank Gratkowski Quartet: Le Vent et la Gorge Multi-reedman Frank Gratkowski is a shrewd operator from almost all conceivable angles. And on Le Vent et la Gorge, the stylizations of drummer Gerry Hemingway's fabled quartet weave in and out of the full spectrum. Of course, this component is factored in by the drummer's appearance along with Hemingway's longtime band-mate, Dutch trombonist Wolter Wierbos, lending his wares as well. Ultimately, it's Gratkowski's hyper-inventive mindset that elevates this program towards its zenith, especially considering similar 2012 releases by others.

The quartet seamlessly bridges modern classical with the avant-garde jazz strata from a structural and improvisational platform. It also engages in some fun and frolic. At times, the leader swashes a path of destruction via boisterous sax choruses, but uncannily conveys a hidden beauty of sorts while doing so. When dishing out off-center rhythms, the band also executes fractured jazz-funk vamps amid Wierbos' ravaging solo spots. Add a few rather bewildering microtonal exercises and the set is literally a wide-ranging study in disparate contrasts and accentuates the musicians' cunning interactions.

The seventeen-minute "Le Vent et la Gorge" is a mind-boggling incursion, where the quartet imparts a nip and tuck pulse and enacts a tightrope-like balancing act as a suspenseful aura hovers above the proceedings. Here, Gratkowski's eerie sax overtones offset the alternating momentum. However, the group switches gears as Hemingway's dainty percussion grooves help transform matters into a near hypnotic state. The soloists explore multiple tonal ranges, abetted by Gratkowski's use of bass clarinet and acting as a mediator during a bit of band-induced angst. Moving forward, the quartet's turbulent shifts in tempo transform into punchy, odd-metered detours—a signature stylization of Hemingway's timekeeping mechanics. A magnum opus, Le Vent et la Gorge complements the quartet's multilateral tactics as an album that looms as one of Gratkowski's crowning achievements.

Track Listing: Harm-oh-nie; Le Vent et la Gorge; Lied/Song; GO!; The Flying Dutchman.

Personnel: Frank Gratkowski: alto saxophone, clarinet, bass and contrabass clarinet, composition; Wolter Wierbos: trombone; Dieter Manderscheid: double bass; Gerry Hemingway: drums.

Year Released: 2013 | Record Label: Leo Records | Style: Free Improv/Avant-Garde


Shop

More Articles

Read Petite Afrique CD/LP/Track Review Petite Afrique
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: April 29, 2017
Read Organ Monk, The Breathe Suite CD/LP/Track Review Organ Monk, The Breathe Suite
by Roger Farbey
Published: April 29, 2017
Read The Wild CD/LP/Track Review The Wild
by Mark Sullivan
Published: April 29, 2017
Read Soul Garden CD/LP/Track Review Soul Garden
by C. Michael Bailey
Published: April 29, 2017
Read The Authorized Bang Collection CD/LP/Track Review The Authorized Bang Collection
by Doug Collette
Published: April 29, 2017
Read Cross My Palm With Silver CD/LP/Track Review Cross My Palm With Silver
by Karl Ackermann
Published: April 28, 2017
Read "Shapes" CD/LP/Track Review Shapes
by Mark Sullivan
Published: September 6, 2016
Read "Been Up So Long It Looks Like Down to Me: The Micros Play the Blues" CD/LP/Track Review Been Up So Long It Looks Like Down to Me: The Micros Play...
by Troy Dostert
Published: March 3, 2017
Read "Time on My Hands" CD/LP/Track Review Time on My Hands
by Jack Bowers
Published: December 10, 2016
Read "Sunrain" CD/LP/Track Review Sunrain
by Mark Sullivan
Published: October 3, 2016
Read "Sektion 1-2" CD/LP/Track Review Sektion 1-2
by Mark Corroto
Published: December 21, 2016
Read "Two Hands, One Heart" CD/LP/Track Review Two Hands, One Heart
by Roger Farbey
Published: February 8, 2017

Post a comment

comments powered by Disqus

Sponsor: ECM RECORDS | BUY NOW  

Support our sponsor

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!