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Stephen Gauci / Joe Hertenstein / Alexander von Schlippenbach / Jan Roder: Soundlift Berlin-New York


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Stephen Gauci / Joe Hertenstein / Alexander von Schlippenbach / Jan Roder: Soundlift Berlin-New York
Soundlift Berlin-New York is the second release documenting NYC tenor saxophonist Stephen Gauci's visit to the German capital following Live At Sowieso, Berlin (Gaucimusic, 2023). It finds him in different company, with drummer Joe Hertenstein, who divides his time between the two cities of the title, the familiar face this time out. Also on this studio date are acclaimed pianist Alexander von Schlippenbach and bassist Jan Roder, a pair with common ground in Die Enttäuschung and their rendition of Thelonious Monk's complete songbook on Monk's Casino (Intakt, 2005).

Schlippenbach is well-used to working with potent horns, given Evan Parker's tenure in his long-standing trio and more recently his experience in The Bridge with Portuguese reedman Rodrigo Amado, as heard on Beyond The Margins (Trost, 2023). Even so, it seems to take him a while to figure out the optimum way to work with Gauci, a saxophonist with a singular style heavy on multiphonics and manipulating overtones, in which he teeters between a ripe falsetto and a crusty bottom. In particular, Gauci's phrasing resembles an action painter attacking the canvas as the moment demands, rather than seeking to etch a continuous line.

Consequently, the magic happens when the pianist locks into a circular repeating motif, playing more percussively than harmonically, against which Gauci unleashes a litany of squawks, blatts and skronk in a bravura dash. When the saxophonist drops out, Schlippenbach and Roder tend to be more jazzy, with the bassist's wiry counterpoint adding to the melodic content. It is Hertenstein who maintains the continuity and mediates between the two modes, laying down a polyrhythmic chatter that does not impose meter or direction. Gauci too adjusts on the fly, his short staccato exclamations meshing with the sparse bass and piano towards the end of "#2" and he even turns boppish in response to Roder's fast walking at the conclusion of "#3."

Throughout the three improvisations, totalling some 53 minutes, there is a sense of everyone finding their way in real time. That they get there is testament to their big ears and formidable ingenuity.

Track Listing

#1; #2; #3.


Album information

Title: Soundlift Berlin-New York | Year Released: 2023 | Record Label: Gaucimusic



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