Friday, February 18, 2011

Ursel Schlicht and Reuben Radding: Einstein's Dreams

Ursel Schlicht, pianist, composer, educator, we have seen via a number of postings here and on the guitar site; bassist Reuben Radding should also be no stranger to regular readers of my blogs. They both in their own way have strongly original approaches to improvisation, which their CD collaboration Einstein's Dreams (Konnex 5165) well attests.

This is a full set of improvisations captured live at Location One, NYC, in 2004. The two run through an inspired series of freely improvised spontaneous compositions. Interplay is excellent, while each manages to bring out a concern with sound and texture they both are known to espouse. The approach may be familiar but the outcome is not. I find Ursel's pianism to be of a very high order. She is ultra-modern without relying on what others have done for inspiration. Beautifully complex chords, melodic gems of irregular phrasing, dynamics, and an ever-inventive musical imagination is what she is about. Reuben is a perfect counterpart. He listens and creates consistently interesting counterlines. She takes in what he is doing and responds accordingly.

The Schlicht-Radding way is marvelously subtle yet never lacking in vitality.

This is so-called "free" music of a stubbornly self-determined sort. It goes where it may, not willy-nilly, but with a clear vision of what it can and does become.

Discover these two weighty improvisers on this disk and you'll be happy for the experience, I would think. I look forward to what the two of them will be doing in the near future. Bring in an equally inventive drummer and some kinetic magic is bound to occur. In the meantime the magic is there already, as heard on this fine offering.

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