Some pairings were just meant to be. Exhibit one, Soul In Plain Sight by the duo of Angelika Niescier and Alexander Hawkins. Niescier, the Polish-born Germany-based saxophonist, met the British pianist Hawkins at the Berlin Jazzfest. Their mutual admiration led to a brief tour and this recording. The music succeeds here because of the musicians' balanced approach and compatible natures. Opening with the cleanse and purge of the improvised "Brawls And Squabbles," the pair spar with push/pull jabs. Hawkins hammers fisted notes while Niescier delivers squawks and overblown notes as this opening salvo announces this new partnership.
Of the fourteen tracks, eight are improvised, three were penned by Niescier and two by Hawkins. The lone cover is "Arhythm Songy" by Muhal Richard Abrams. Recorded in 1977 in a session with saxophonist Anthony Braxton, the composition links Niescier and Hawkins to both the AACM and Braxton. Hawkins would be engaged by Braxton to tour Europe in 2020 playing jazz and pop standards, which can be heard in the massive 13-CD box set Quartet (Standards) 2020 (New Braxton House, 2021) and Niescier draws much of her inspiration (and sound) from Braxton. That connection can be heard or her Intakt recordings with Tyshawn Sorey and Christopher Tordini. The listener can can favor either musician's compositions or choose their free improvisations. Niescier's "Metamorphose Einerka Karelle" plays out as drunken bebop and Hawkins' "Scops" tinkle trinkles as an alluring ballad. The very brief "Weft," "Loom," and "Scope," which together don't add up to five minutes of music, are classics in miniature asking for an encore, as does this duo. More please.
Brawls And Squabbles; Arhythm Songy; Why Didn’t You; Un:tamed; Shipwrecked Words; Scops;
Weft; Nexus; Metamorphose Einerka Karelle; Loom; As Hemispheres At Home; Limnetic Zone;
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