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Die Hochstapler: Plays The Music Of Alvin P. Buckley

Mark Corroto By

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Back in high school, my physics instructor explained to us how there is a mathematical equation for everything in the universe. We started with the parabola equation of a baseball's flight after being struck by a bat. We were amazed to learn that one (not I) could also calculate the various waves on a lake. A classmate went on to start a successful computer generated imagery company in Hollywood, but that's another story. This is the story of another mathematician, scientist, linguist, and musician in Chicago, Alvin P. Buckley. He worked on similar equations, as they related to music. Although he died at age 35, in 1964, his journals survive.

Enter Die Hochstapler (The Imposter) a Franco-German-Italian quartet that resurrects the concepts of Buckley. They make music out of his strategies for collective composition that include musical games, drawings, as well as his philosophic aphorisms. Sounds a lot like Anthony Braxton, right? Well, Braxton and Ornette Coleman were the subject of their previous release The Braxtornette Project (Umlaut, 2013). Their music can also be framed within John Zorn's game pieces and the music of Iannis Xenakis.

Certainly we are hearing jazz improvisation here. It's just the organizing principles are as left-handed as early Ornette and the Art Ensemble of Chicago's creations. Saxophonist Pierre Borel (Christian Lillinger), trumpeter Louis Laurain (Bertrand Denzler, Ernesto Rodrigues), bassist Antonio Borghini (Alexander von Schlippenbach, Eco D'Alberi) and drummer Hannes Lingens negotiate each of the five pieces without notation, relying on Buckley's change, games and philosophy. But this isn't chaos theory. The music swings as hard as early Ornette and Don Cherry's interlocking horns mashed up with the radicalism of Jimmy Giuffre's ensembles. This music works, in that I mean it is tight, clever, ultimately it swings. Certainly it wouldn't work this well if Die Hochstapler's communication and interplay wasn't impeccable. It all adds up.

Track Listing: Le Musicien Est Au Son…; Every Bird Must Be Catalogued; …Ce Que Le Ver Est à La Pomme; Alphabets And Alfa Romeos; Playing Cards

Personnel: Pierre Borel: alto saxophone; Louis Laurain: trumpet; Antonio Borghini: double bass; Hannes Lingens: drums.

Title: Plays The Music Of Alvin P. Buckley | Year Released: 2016 | Record Label: Umlaut Records


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