Thursday, November 24, 2011

"Fusk": Kasper Tom, Rudi Mahall, Philipp Gropper, Andreas Lang

Fusk (Why Play Jazz RS005), the self-titled first release by the Berlin-based avant jazz outfit, gives you some sharply defined compositional material by Danish drummer Kasper Tom Christiansen, who heads up the unit. He's joined by some of Europe's finest improvisers: Philipp Gropper (saxophone), Rudi Mahall (bass clarinet), and Andrew Lang (bass).

The Kasper-Andrew rhythm team is limber, loose and swinging in and out of time while Mahall and Gropper play some vividly angular written lines and well conceived solos.

What impresses me about this one is the total leverage of the unit. They kick the music with some torque and have well-poised forward movement. It's the kind of new jazz that takes the impetus of Ornette's early ensembles and the emerging masters of that era, like Simmons, Dolphy, the NY Contemporary Five, early Don Cherry and the Dixon-Shepp unit, and goes someplace new with that.

They do a very good job at it. If you like the propulsed freedom of the giants that came before, you will find something new to like with Fusk. Recommended.

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