Thursday, February 13, 2014

Glod / Piket / Tokar / Kugel - Op Der Schmelz Live [Nemu]

Roby Glod - alto and soprano saxophones
Roberta Piket - piano
Mark Tokar - double bass
Klaus Kugel - drums

Nemu Records 2013

This is an international quartet with US citizens Roby Glod on saxes and Roberta Piket on piano, Klaus Kugel on drums from Germany and Mark Tokar on bass from Ukraine (a rhythm section that appears together in other groups as well, ie Undivided or the trio with Andre' Pabarciute). 
The name of the collective means "At the Foundry" which is metaphorically quite accurate.  There are six pieces on the cd, everyone with a seed of sketched melody, to be filled and surrounded differently with each execution, not unlike working with a fused metal in a factory.

Piket's piano interlude starsts off the "Dredger of Pig Rolls", the notes become denser, the harmonic implications richer as she is joined by alto for a meandering headline and the whole band can take off (Piket will get another chance further into the piece to bite good into the melody). "Lviv" showcases Glod's soprano saxophone in a lyrical yet knotty melody, Tokar's subtle bass solo and the deep sound is another pleasure. "Budmo, Hay!" starts as a sax - drums duo, contrasts the lighness of the soprano with density of polirhythm. Soothing and lyrical "Nazar" is a charming ballad, precious and delicate in it's soft texture, woven between the gentle sax, romantic piano. The dark bass tones keep the music from becoming too sweet. "Op Der Schmelz" starts off wandering through high tones, with sharp piano chords and sax shouts being emphasized by sonoristic effects on bass and drums - bowed plates, strings plucked below the bridge, bass belly gently massaged. After a couple of minutes of sonoristic adventures. from the mist of sounds a more common elements emerge - a dynamic yet graceful soprano, a thunderous drums solo to end the piece. 

Although the music on the cd is improvised freely it doesn't try to escape desperately such notions like rhythm, tonality or melody. The concept is possibly best explained by Klaus Kugel in his words :"I have a lot of freedom, but I'm not playing 'free'. We're just playing". The band digs deep between in and out, free and post-bop and the music is successful in finding new constellations of the known elements. It feels coherent, thoughtful and spontaneous at the same time, in the way modern jazz should. 


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