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Markus Gottschlich: Of Places Between

Dan Bilawsky By

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Pianist Markus Gottschlich is anything but a traditionalist, yet tradition, or more accurately, traditions, play a major role in his music; he doesn't believe that a single tradition must be addressed in isolation. In Gottschlich's world, songo and samba can meet and marry ("Invitation"), Billy Strayhorn's music can stray a bit, taking a detour to Jamaica ("A Flower Is A Lovesome Thing"), and peaceful, insomnia-fueled reverie can take form around an awakening rhythm section bent on exploring the topic of subtle kaleidoscopic groove development ("Sleepless Night"). Gottschlich doesn't just toy with the places between; he loves them and lives for them.

The Vienna-born, Miami-based pianist owes allegiance to everything and nothing all at once. He nods toward Schubert, on "Impromptu Op. 90, Nr. 3," while simultaneously taking him to task, and he uses "Invitation" as an invitation to cross-pollinate; who would have ever thought a piano trio plus violin and tabla would be taking a hybridized Latin look at the latter tune?

Gottschlich the player is at his best when he lets his thoughts wander. This type of stargazing, soul searching and soul baring takes place at the outset of "Sleepless Night," where Gottschlich and accordionist Christian Bakanic take a ruminative stroll through a moonlit land, and on "Lilly," where violinist Federico Britos and Gottschlich pay tender musical tribute to the pianist's grandmother. These two instances, more than any other, give pause to admire Gottschlich-as-pianist. His more inventive compositional ideas, however, are realized in more active surroundings. In these scenarios, his mix-and-match mentality helps to bring odd juxtapositions to the surface, and they work more often than not.

Of Places Between is, admittedly, an audible autobiography, but it's more than that; it's a look at a world without borders. Pianist Markus Gottschlich's music lives in—and pulls from—the cracks and crevices that have formed between musical realms.

Track Listing: Invitation; Sleepless Night; Wehmut; A Flower Is A Lovesome Thing; Schubert Impromptu Op. 90 Nr. 3; Sojourner; Lilly; Dark Horses.

Personnel: Markus Gottschlich; Federico Britos: violin; Jose Javier Freire; drums; Scott Whitney: bass; Christian Bakanic: accordion; Elon Rubin: cello; Rajesh Bhandari: tabla, djembe.

Title: Of Places Between | Year Released: 2013 | Record Label: Innercat Music Group

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