Ursel Schlicht: Einstein's Dreams & Photosphere

Florence Wetzel By

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Ursel Schlicht is a unique talent, a pianist whose gifts shine out over many fields. She explores jazz, improvised and new music, and she has composed for dance theatre and improvised for silent films. All this, plus her PhD, her years as a music teacher and her strong interest in intercultural musical exchange, make Schlicht a formidable musician, an intriguing combination of the adventurous and the cerebral.

Two fine new albums present Schlicht playing live in duet settings. Each offers a chance to enter Schlicht's musical universe—a rich well of ideas and inspiration as well as testimony to the endless possibilities of the duet.

Ursel Schlicht/Reuben Radding
Einstein's Dreams
Konnex Records

On Einstein's Dreams Schlicht teams with Reuben Radding, a regular on the downtown scene who studied with the redoubtable Mark Dresser. Like Schlicht, Radding is an explorer; he's comfortable traveling in jazz, classical and ethnic music, and has a wide variety of colors from which to draw.

Einstein's Dreams was recorded in 2004 at the innovative Roulette Series in SoHo. The four songs are adventures in listening, and the music is exceedingly rich, but also with ample space for silence and reflection. As the listener follows Schlicht and Radding's conversational dance, each song offers a world to get lost in. There are many unexpected turnings and modulations, with the duet format allowing each instrument to be heard in all its subtleties and nuances.

Robert Dick/Ursel Schlicht
Nemu Records

Photosphere, five pieces recorded live in 2004 at Kulturhaus Dock 4 in Kassel, Germany, finds Schlicht with another strong musician: flautist Robert Dick. Adept at circular breathing, vocalizing and overtones, Dick's mastery of the flute has been compared to that of Paganini on violin and Hendrix and guitar.

Both Schlicht and Dick have impeccable chops and great intimacy with their instruments. Photosphere also spotlights their composing gifts, with two songs by Schlicht, two by Dick and one collaboration. Throughout the CD the flute and piano chase, question and challenge each other, creating unusual tones and singular sonic worlds.

Tracks and Personnel

Einstein's Dreams

Tracks: Unexpected Vision; Time Passes More Slowly For People In Motion; Textures Of Times; Modulation Of Light.

Personnel: Ursel Schlicht: piano; Reuben Radding: double bass.


Tracks: Lapis Blues; Emergence; Faust; Piece In Gamelan Style; Fragments.

Personnel: Ursel Schlicht: piano; Robert Dick: flute and bass flute.

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