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German multiple reed man Steffen Schorn plays a wide array of wind instruments: tenor, baritone, bass, contrabass and subcontrabass saxophones; Bb, bass, contra-alto and contrabass clarinets, along with the piccolo, flute, alto and bass flutes. So it makes sense for an artist with that many wind instruments in his quiver to collaborate with a wind ensemble, specifically with The Norwegian Wind Ensemble, the country's esteemedand oldestsmall orchestra, for Tiefentraume, a set of symphonic music featuring Schorn, along with saxophonist Roger Hanschel, vibraphonist Rob Waring, and drummers Knut Aalefjar and Rune Arnesen, for an exploration of "deep dreams reflecting three of the five mysteries of mankind: the infinity of space, the depth of the sea and the unknown territory of the human mind."
It's an ambitious project that was arranged and composed by Schorn, who wields his variety of lower end wind instruments. The ensemble as a whole displays a space-like, nebulous feeling on one endflutes, piccolos, oboesjuxtaposed with a deeper, oceanic tidal surge foundation from Schorn's low reeds teamed with the orchestras low reeds and brass.
The title tune expands and contractsa universe in the throws of its creationin a magisterial fashion, with searing solos by Schorn and Hanschel. "Dantie's Dance" features low groans and a down-bound train rhythm as it leaves the station, with the high end reeds singing like birds before the ensemble gives way to frenetic sax solo buoyed up by the vibraphone. Then the orchestra surges, under the gravitational influence of the rhythmic pulls of a fast orbiting moon, before they fade off to open the space for Schornon a very deep reedto duet with a Hanschel's on-fire alto sax.
"Tauspiegelungen," at nearly fifteen minutes in length, is the third of the disc's trio of extended piecesthe thirteen-and-a-half minute "Tiefentraum" and twelve-and-a-half-minute "Dantie's Dance" bring the other two. This longest piece sounds like a symphony celebrating timeless mysteries, with its luminous harmonic murk, sweet smears of sound and, initially, a separate-from-temporal-time mood that shifts abruptly to a truculent fanfare approach interspersed with fragile luminosity supplied by the flutes and clarinets and piccolos.
Schorn and The Norwegian Wind Ensemble have created a magnificent and beautiful recording, a new musical universe with Tiefentraume.
Jazz is a continuing revelation. The best show I ever attended was the
Roots Picnic at Penn's Landing in Philadelphia, or was it Robert
Glasper's Experiment at Lincoln Center, or was it Chick Corea with
Brian Blade at Oberlin College? Most of all I enjoy playing guitar and
composing beats with my Brooklyn-based group Space Captain.