Free Jazz review by Stef Gissels

Achim Kaufmann, Robert Landfermann, Christian Lillinger – Grünen (CF 202)

Your humble servant gets loads of CDs by many labels and musicians, many more than are possible to even listen to, let alone review them all for you. Many of the ones that I do not review have one thing in common : lack of musicality.

Sometimes the ideas are there, but at a cerebral level, or it is creative just to be creative, or different just to be different, or loud just to be loud, or shocking just to be shocking. Being musical and sensing music (flow, sound, pace, interaction, …) requires talent, and not just conceptual thought and technical skills.

This German trio embodies this notion of “musicality”, expressed on these eight improvisations. They bring a mixture of jazz and free improv, but all with an incredible sense of lyricism and tension. The latter is the result of the many variations and daring contrasts between the three instruments, with strange shifts of roles between which is the melodic and which the rhythmic instrument. The tension also arises from the contrast between light and almost impressionistic moments with dark and rhythmic passages, as on the long “Khaki”.

The beauty of it all lies in the captivating story-telling, with new storylines opening regularly, driving the attention and anticipation forward, waiting to hear what’s coming next, engulfing you in the process, sometimes overwhelming, but certainly dragging you on, through unexpected sonic explorations as on “Reed” or “Loden”, with weird twists and turns, or tranquil sensitivity as on “Ur”, but fascinating throughout.

The title of the album means “greens” as in the various shades of color and is also reflected in the titles of the tracks, free associations of the word “green”, but in line with their music, not the ones that are predictable, and like the color, the music is all very fresh and pristine, shades of the same material, yet entirely different.

They create something new with a “traditional” piano trio, with a high level of musicality and creativity. These three artists do not play music, they are music.

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