It's a long way from a stint in the Vienna Boys Choir to fronting an ultra-modern electro-acoustic sextet, but with Refusion
the adventurous Austrian drummer Wolfgang Reisinger shows how it's done. First gaining notoriety with the Vienna Art Orchestra, Reisinger is best known for his current work with Dave Liebman and pianist Joachim Kuhn.
Here, Reisinger's concept brings Dark Magus (Sony, 1974) electric-period Miles up to the moment, emphasizing the freakish talents of the formidable cast he has brought together mostly by letting them interact freely on forms. This organic brand of freeness in improvisatory atmospheres, and the instantaneous manner in which participants enter and leave the sound hierarchy while maintaining significant roles in the soundscape, is a conceptual crux.
Who better to have on hand as lead voice than Liebman, who was there when the sorcery began? "For Dave features the fiery, serpentine chromaticism that he invented over a burly vamp with a wide-open pocket supplied by Reisinger and the twin basses of Matt Garrison (electric) and Jean-Paul Celea (acoustic). Keyboard swells and effects from Wolfgang Mitterer, who like Reisinger, has each foot planted firmly in classical and modern idioms, are placed tastefully in the mix. The vamp is the song and the soloing platform, so the soloists can jack it up successively. Guitarist Marc Ducret elongates linearly in incendiary fashion as he rarely has on record, self-editing his phraseological quirks for explosive liquidity. Liebman's final turn thrillingly outdances Reisinger's kit and Ducret's fretboard percussives.
Ducret's "Urgence likewise benefits from a fat Miles-like vamp, prequeled by darting telepathy between the soprano and guitar. Tagged by a stellar free section, Reisinger and Mitterer sample tastefully from their arsenals, with Garrison supplying chords, lines, and slides slipping in and out of the sound matrix. Electric bass in this section is utilized like piano will sometimes be in "free situations- densely and furiously, but low enough in the mix where it imparts tasteful and jolting accents.
Garrison goes off into linear hyper-speed, using detuned strings on his brief but perfectly placed solo in "Off and Off, an effusively free-associated Liebman composition made of blips and wails tethered by brief smatterings of "heads appearing throughout.
The title tune exemplifies the structure, or lack thereof, that this group is chasing. Grown electronically but still organically, it's the sound of pursuance, linked visually to a molten depiction on the inner sleeve. Each soloist virtuoustically plays the both the hunted and pursued over Reisinger's and Mitterer's atmospheres. Repeated figures from Garrison spur Reisinger to percolate with his most intense work of the session. As a unison passage materializes, it's supplanted by a distorted guitar lead and longing sheets of tenor squalls.
It's notable that the title, Refusion, can be implied to mean a rethinking of electric jazz, a meaning which is certainly relevant to this project. But its definition is twofold: "new or repeated melting, akin to the self-reconfiguring of the ensemble throughout, and more importantly "restoration, as in blood - indeed.
Track Listing: Play Up; Urgence; Silence; For Dave; Off and Off; Refusion; Pastorale; Don
Personnel: Wolfgang Reisinger: drums, orchestral percussion; Dave Liebman: soprano and tenor saxophone; Marc Ducret: guitar; Matthew Garrison: electric bass; Jean Paul Celea: acoustic bass, Wolfgang Mitterer: electronics.
| Year Released: 2007