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Andreas Willers / Urs Leimgruber: Pale White Shout

Glenn Astarita By

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Track review of "Face to Face III"

Guitarist Andreas Willers (Germany) and saxophonist Urs Leimgruber (Switzerland) are among Europe's most prominent improvisers and free-thinkers. On this outing their experimental metrics are quite rangy and focused, offering the antithesis to a madcap free-form blowing session. The duo alternates between controlled thematic buildups and subdued encounters with polytonal dialogues along with certain parts that elicit notions of exotic birds communicating in a tropical rain forest. Add some bizarre tirades and coiled flurries —abetted by Willers' wily electric guitar effects and distortion techniques—the musicians' merge a divide and conquer modus operandi with humor and playful exchanges.

"Face to Face III" is the lengthiest track, clocking in at 10 ½ minutes. Here, the duo opens with a simple conversation, gravitated by Willers' grunge-like single note lines, spanning the upper and lower registers. Along with some death metal style drones and Leimgruber's vibrato-tinted lines, they ascend towards a doomsday-framed outlook, cycling through a mesmeric and climactic free jazz exposition. But they gradually temper the flows amid a horde of crisscrossing motifs that summon a variety of contrasting ideas and emotive aspects, amped by the saxophonist's meticulously crafted, and rather mercurial tenor sax statements. Nonetheless, the artists generate a whole lot of depth via multihued textural components and vastly interesting concepts that often lead to explosive cadenzas and a myriad of fascinating subplots.

Track Listing:

Personnel: Andreas Willers: electric guitar; Urs Leimgruber: soprano & tenor saxophones.

Title: Pale White Shout | Year Released: 2016 | Record Label: Jazzwerkstatt


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