All About Jazz

Home » Articles » CD/LP/Track Review


Neuköllner Modelle: Sektion 1-2

Mark Corroto By

Sign in to view read count
The finest free jazz, that which is played at the highest levels, is actually quite tuneful. Not that the musicians rely on riffs or licks, or traditional themes. It is simply that the music, like an Abstract Expressionist painting, converges to form a whole. Just as a novice art student or someone without any art history background might not appreciate a painting by Willem de Kooning or Franz Kline, it's interesting to observe that both schooled artists and little children recognize the virtuosity instantly. The same is true for free jazz musicians, who often preach to the converted listeners (and should also do so to school children).

A case-in-point is the trio Neuköllner Modelle, made up of saxophonist Bertrand Denzler, bassist Joel Grip and legendary jazz drummer Sven-Åke Johansson. Sektion 1-2 is the first part of a seven Sektion (section) series of live recordings from Berlin in 2015. Self-described as two seemingly disparate strategies, "Constructive Free Jazz" or "Non- Expressive Free Jazz," the two sides of their LP (yes, this is vinyl) will sound either assembled or deconstructed, depending on your orientation.

If you're lucky, both.

Pairing Denzler, a musician with an astute approach to minimalist saxophone (check out Tenor (Potlatch, 2012)), with Grip, a collocating musician who ties many disparate European improvisational forms together, and Johansson, the Swiss army knife (although he is Swedish) of drummers, is a genius amalgam of musicians.

"Sektion 1" opens almost lazily with trudging bass and the rattle accents of Johansson warming up his snare, bass drum, and cymbals. Denzler puts lips to horn, honoring the footslog. Where another trio might have pushed and pulled each other to force, maybe squeeze, a performance out, these three never seem to play the provocation card. They build intensity as a unit, constructing both pieces here as if they were nurturing the music as an ecosystem. Highly recommended music.

Track Listing: Sektion 1; Sektion 2.

Personnel: Bertrand Denzler: saxophone; Joel Grip: double bass; Sven-Åke Johansson: drums.

Title: Sektion 1-2 | Year Released: 2016 | Record Label: Umlaut Records


comments powered by Disqus

Related Articles

Read The Questions CD/LP/Track Review
The Questions
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: March 20, 2018
Read Meerkat Parade CD/LP/Track Review
Meerkat Parade
by Geno Thackara
Published: March 20, 2018
Read The Poetry of Jazz CD/LP/Track Review
The Poetry of Jazz
by Mark Corroto
Published: March 20, 2018
Read The Unknowable CD/LP/Track Review
The Unknowable
by Glenn Astarita
Published: March 20, 2018
Read Like A Radio CD/LP/Track Review
Like A Radio
by Doug Collette
Published: March 20, 2018
Read Live In Healdsburg CD/LP/Track Review
Live In Healdsburg
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: March 19, 2018
Read "Elusive" CD/LP/Track Review Elusive
by Geno Thackara
Published: September 23, 2017
Read "TITOK" CD/LP/Track Review TITOK
by Mark Sullivan
Published: June 14, 2017
Read "I Am A Man" CD/LP/Track Review I Am A Man
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: October 27, 2017
Read "Currents 0" CD/LP/Track Review Currents 0
by Karl Ackermann
Published: April 18, 2017
Read "Live at Pyatt Hall" CD/LP/Track Review Live at Pyatt Hall
by Jack Bowers
Published: January 23, 2018
Read "Transcend" CD/LP/Track Review Transcend
by Geannine Reid
Published: February 26, 2018