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Storm Walking Singing is the type of recording I would have expected Winter & Winter or ECM to release. Very specialized and focused and defying genre (jazz or classical), Jonas Tauber's latest release is an interesting exploration, and as such a bit of an acquired taste. That it why it is so wonderful that Seattle-based Origin Records is emerging as an American foil to the two great German labels.
Tauber, a virtuoso cellist and bassist, was a fixture on the West Coast Jazz scene before relocating to his native Switzerland, where he resides in Zürich. There he produces the "Zürich Series" for Origin Arts, as well as proving support to other label mates. Tauber has previously performed with Michael Vlatkovich Tritet and Ken Ollis on Vlatkovich's trombone trio recording Queen Dynamo and his own probing Prime Numbers (both Origin, 2004).
Storm Walking Singing is a bass solo recital recorded live before an audience at Café 26, Schaffhausen, Switzerland in March 2004. It is a collection of impressionistic pieces performed arco, pizzicato, and any other way Tauber cares to. The titles of the pieces are naturalistic and pastoral, with the exception of a lopping "Billie's Bounce" that closes the disc. These more pastoral selections provide a range of sounds some pleasant and some not so pleasant. All are aesthetically compelling, demanding of the listener, full of attention and thought. In that way, this recording is not so different from any other solo recital, with the exception that this is predominantly improvised.
Recordings like Storm Walking Singing are important because they offer display of great talent and virtuosity and expand the palette of the listening public. This type of musical and cultural growth are sorely needed.
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.