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Stephen Gauci: Live At Sowieso, Berlin

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Stephen Gauci: Live At Sowieso, Berlin
Tenor saxophonist Stephen Gauci cuts a busy figure in his native New York City. But with Live At Sowieso, Berlin he brings his brand of unbridled energy to the hotbed of free improv which is the titular German city with striking results. He retains one familiar face for the journey in the shape of drummer Kevin Shea, a longstanding member of the reedman's trio, who is still best known for his tenure in the anarchic Mostly Other People Do The Killing. Alongside them, on a program of four untitled improvisations, are American expat pianist Liz Kosack and her close associate Norwegian electric bassist Dan Peter Sundland, who perform as a duo under the moniker RRR.

Gauci sounds like no-one else. He leaps between a ripe falsetto and a crusty middle register in a style which accentuates harmonics, overblowing and offkilter phrasing. As such he often acts as the catalyst for a surge into the red from his collaborators (both pianist Matt Mitchell and drummer Tyshawn Sorey take this route in their various encounters with the saxophonist under the title Live at Scholes Street Studio). But in truth all four of the participants here spark each other into peaks of activity. Consequently the two 20-minute plus cuts ("#1" and "#3") both offer generous servings of hammered piano, growling electric bass and clattery momentum.

Kosack proves a percussive but engaging presence, supplementing her extended atonal hornlike lines with a varied attack derived from assorted keyboard preparations. She particularly shines at the outset of "#2" in tandem with Gauci, with a rolling thunder spiced by extreme treble exclamations like hailstones. While there are moments of reflection amid the tumult, they manifest as eerie indeterminate scrapes, moans and abrasions rather than gauzy airs. That minimalist vibe is especially prevalent during the final "#4," a winding down which nonetheless contains enough jittery liveliness to fuel many another session.

Track Listing

#1; #2; #3; #4.

Personnel

Stephen Gauci
saxophone, tenor
Liz Kosack
synthesizer
Dan Peter Sundland
bass, electric
Additional Instrumentation

Liz Kosack: piano.

Album information

Title: Live At Sowieso, Berlin | Year Released: 2023 | Record Label: Gaucimusic


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