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The name Theo Jorgensmann may not be quite as familiar to modern jazz advocates on these shores; however, when we speak of those who have expanded the possibilities and successfully integrated this instrument into modern day jazz ideologies, let us not disregard Jorgensmann’s noteworthy contributions. With Snijbloemen, the German clarinetist along with vibraphonist Christopher Dell, bassist Christian Ramond and drummer Klaus Kugel provide the listener with a series of compositions that might summon imagery of an intricate or finely crafted sculpture consisting of sharp angles and complex patterns.
The first piece, “Kospi” commences with simple and somewhat dainty or childlike themes supplemented by Christopher Dell’s backwash of vibes and Jorgensemann’s sensitive and at times whimsical lines. Here, the musicians coalesce as Dell’s extended vibes solo marks a change of direction, meter and flow capped off by the clarinetist’s stinging lines, shrewd utilization of vibrato and beautiful yet altogether blistering attack. Jorgensmann’s unique vernacular on this instrument is nothing short of amazing. Throughout, the clarinetist pursues phraseology that might parallel a hot shot, fleet-fingered Bop saxophonist! Jorgensmann’s circuitous and rapid-fire attack is enhanced by his keen improvisational speak and slashing lines. The piece titled, “Wiesengrund” is a free-jazz escapade featuring the clarinetist’s scathing lyricism and the band’s spirited style of execution. The tide turns a bit on compositions such as “Dark Room” and “Dark Room (Take 2)” where the musicians construct ethereal tones and motifs via a slightly deterministic methodology while they also invoke a sense of cabalistic isolation enacted in dirge-like fashion.
In Dutch, Snijbloemen translates into – cut flowers. The “Theo Jorgensmann Quartet” instills earthen qualities along with bright, imaginative themes that summon the mind’s eye, yet the musicians are liable to shift gears or spawn new motifs on a moment’s notice while listening to Jorgensmann’s mastery of the clarinet is just an added bonus! * * * * ½
I love jazz because anything is possible; it has few rules and the best jazz breaks those ones. I prefer free improv because it doesn't really have any rules at all.
I was first exposed to jazz in my teens (in the late sixties).
The first jazz record I bought was Filles de Kilimanjaro by Miles Davis, shortly followed by Extrapolation by John McLaughlin.
My advice to new listeners is to listen as widely as possible and not to make snap judgments--stick with it.