Belgian reed player Joachim Badenhorst has been busy in the last five years. He is a member of the forward-thinking outfits of Dutch drummer Han Bennink, American saxophonist Tony Malaby, German trumpeter Thomas Heberer, and many other working bands. His first solo album, a limited edition vinyl, reveals Badenhorst as a versatile musician well-versed in the history of modern jazz, free jazz and free improvisation, with his own personal soundsearching and thoughtful yet warm and emotional.
Badenhorst has mastered reed instrument extended techniques pioneered by innovative musicians including Eric Dolphy, Joe McPhee, Evan Parker and John Butcher, and transformed them into his own vocabulary. On each of the nine improvised compositions, he explores a different musical path with great detail, imagination and emotional depth. He begins by introducing his instruments. The quiet "Klarinet" is a focused, reserved investigation of a disjointed theme. The more experimental "Basklarinet" is structured around a dark humming drone, in which the instrument is simply a vehicle for mutating air flow, later contrasted with brief, melodic variations. On "Tenor" he uses circular breathing to create a detailed polyphonic narrative that gets increasingly stronger and louder.
He explores beautiful, haunting melodies on "Djilatendo" and "Rafel romp." On "Djilatendo" he uses minimal repetition, while on "Rafel romp" he employs thoughtful intervals. "Ek stamel ek sterwe" is a return to the experimental mode of sonic search that blossoms into a fiery free improvisation. Badenhorst's heartfelt dedication to McPhee on "X" harkens back to McPhee's interpretation of the tenor saxophone's history. The quiet "Singing the Blues" is a warm tribute to Dolphy's harmonic abstractions. "Tafel stomp" blends Badenhorst's tendency to explore melodic, warm themes with a need to investigate its pragmatics from a more adventurous angle.
Badenhorst discovers a colorful and arresting jungle of sounds, full of brilliant, original ideas.
Track Listing: Klarinet; Basklarinet; Tenor; Djilatendo; Rafel romp; Ek stamel ek sterwe; X (for Joe McPhee); Singing the Blues; Tafel stomp.
Personnel: Joachim Badenhorst: clarinet, bass clarinet, tenor saxophone.
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