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Kolner Saxophon Mafia: Spaceplayer

Dan McClenaghan By

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One half of the Kolner Saxophone Mafia—Roger Hanschel and Steffen Schorn—grabbed my attention last year with the unique sound of Triosphere, where the two multiple reedmen teamed with guitarist Dirk Mudelein. Its invigorating mix of sounds made the disc one of the most interesting discoveries of '04. On Spaceplayer, Schorn and Hanschel join Wollie Kaiser and Joachim Ullrich in a woodwind quartet, the Kolner Saxophon Mafia, an expansion of the traditional saxophone quartet that features a full array of reed sounds. The resulting timbral weave twirls its cool textures over drifting momentum, orchestrally full at times, rich, with as much a classical feeling as a jazz sound.

Like Triosphere, the music on the Kolner Saxophon Mafia's Spaceplayer has an odd and foreign, yet still familiar feeling. It's rare to hear the full spectrum of reed sounds on one disc, and the resulting mix proves itself a captivatingly cool sonic stew, low and high woodwind sounds moving around each other in a fluid dance.

"Pluto's Secret" is cool, intospective, and ethereal, featuring Schorn's bass flute against a backdrop of dark wood reeds, brooding with a contained restlessness. "Alles Roger, Buck?" seems "jazzier," but like the rest of the set, its start to finish collaboration, swirling voices intertwining rather than playing in accompaniment/solo mode.

Seventy-seven minutes of beautifully intricate interplay begs for a lot of listening time to fully appreciate all of the nuanced interplay, and that's a lot of listening time well-spent. Another interesting discovery to chalk up for 2005.

Visit the Kolner Saxophone Mafia on the web at www.koelnersaxophnmafia.de .

Track Listing: The Adventures of Hasso Sigbjornson, Evas Flug, The Unwelcome Emotions of Replicant Pris, Schweine im Weltall, Klingonentraume, The Disappearance of Space and Time, The Loss of the Human Soul, Pluto's Secret, Alles Roger, Buck?, Last Picture of the Solaris, Letzten Donnerstag in der Zeitschleife, One Short forbidden Look Into Paradise

Personnel: Roger Hanschel--alto saxophone, F-mezzosoprano saxophone, sopranino saxophone; Wollie Kaiser--bass clarinet, tenor saxophone, soprano saxophone; JoachimUllrich--tenor saxophone, clarinet; Bb tubax; contra-alto clarinet, bass clarinetbass saxophone, baritone saxophone, tenor saxophone, bass flute, flute

Title: Spaceplayer | Year Released: 2005 | Record Label: Jazz House


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