Free Jazz review by Stef Gissels

I love the music of these guys. They sound fresh, inventive, clever, and utterly soulful and compelling. They are Thomas Heberer on trumpet, Joachim Badenhorst on clarinet, Pascal Niggenkemper on bass, and Joe Hertenstein on drums. The first three already made the excellent “Clarino” on No Business last year, while Heberer, Niggenkemper and Hertenstein released “HNH” on Clean Feed. And now they are back, with one trio and one quartet.

Thomas Heberer’s Clarino – Klippe (CF 226)
The incredibly impressive percussion-less chamber music on this album is the result of Heberer’s own “Cookbook” notation, by which improvised phrases are played, repeated and then reintroduced into an agreed structure. The approach requires astute listening and concentration, an aspect which is audible in the music, and adds a kind of dimension of caution and fragility. In contrast to many other musicians of their generation, they hardly ever resort to extended techniques, yet they use their instruments in the most “voiced” traditional way, but with the skills of virtuosi.

The overall sound as a result is calm, precise and subtle, sometimes grave, sometimes playful, often full of wonder, full of surprise. There is an incredible tenderness for the notes played, and intense feeling of cohesion despite the freedom the musicians have. Even if some of the pieces sound abstract at first listen, this is easily compensated by the sensitivity in each musician’s timbral richness and the emotional delivery.

I could start describing the music, but as usual words fail me. You have to listen to it yourself (here, on eMusic, for instance). Trust me, you won’t be disappointed,

Highly recommended!

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