Long-time collaborators, the duo of pianist and prepared pianist Achim Kaufmann and trumpeter Thomas Heberer recorded this set of 9 intimate and incredibly well informed duos in Berlin, 2011.
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Label: Red Toucan
Catalog ID: RT 9347
Squidco Product Code: 17842
Packaging: Jewel Tray
Recorded by Roy Carroll in Berlin in December, 2011.
Achim Kaufmann-piano, prepared piano
Thomas Heberer-trumpet, quarter-tone trumpet
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1. Am Hang 4:10
2. Oscillator Dog 3:52
3. Baumhaus 5:20
4. Machmoire 7:42
5. Neuntoner 3:30
6. Grober Onkel 6:38
7. Ohrschuft 5:11
8. Kleiner Stromer 6:40
9. Kleimasker 4:55
European Improv, Free Jazz & Related
Instruments with Preparations
sample the album:
"Thomas Heberer on trumpet and quartertone trumpet, and Achim Kaufmann on piano, go back a long way. They studied together, played lots of music together, then moved in different geographical directions, now meeting again for a fantastic album. Most tracks start with some idea of what is going to happen, yet then both musicians turn the material into fabulous excursions of calm nervousness, or restrained tension, really going beyond the boundaries of genre or style. Is this jazz? Is this modern classical music? You can wonder.
What you know is that each piece has its own precise musical character, sometimes moody, sometimes joyful, often both at once, sometimes contemplative and sometimes jubilating. What you don't get is repetition, patterns or other solid foundations to stand on, what you get is permanent surprise about what's going to happen, wondering which ways the notes will go, and strangely enough both musicians know, because they move together as one, away from your expectations into new realms of wonder. You can wonder how the notation took place. Yet they explore, they take a journey in their own music, building on the ideas, and expanding them, keeping the original character all the time.
The result is one of refreshing drama, clever sensitivity, precision in rawness, disciplined invention, and this with a broad and open-minded vision on music.
The most amazing thing about the album are the incredible varietiy of ideas, the shifts and changes, and the overall coherence. Of all the albums reviewed in this post, it is without a doubt also the most adventurous, going at times sonically beyond the natural voicing of each instrument, yet without overdoing it.
For sure one of the most interesting albums of the year."-Stef, Free Jazz Blog
"It took us thirty years to release our first album together. Between 1984 and 1986, Thomas and I spent a lot of time playing together, listening and discussing music. I learned so much from him and through him. As an 18-year-old, he was already a prolific composer and quickly became a confident bandleader. Our stylistic orientation in those early groups - first a bassless trio, then a quartet, later sporadically a duo - changed on an almost weekly basis. Influences coming from ECM records, the AACM, or electronic music were adopted and intermingled. There seemed to be too many alleys we could take, and at times it was hard to see a clear direction. ..... Although some studio and live tapes exist (I have to dig them up some time), I sometimes regret nothing ever got documented in those early days - still the LP days! I am all the more happy to see this duet recording released. I think it still contains a lot of the old spirit, which I can't describe right now in any other way than a "desire for the unknown"."-Thomas Heberer
"Achim and I became fast friends after meeting at a German summer music program in 1982. Later, we attended the Cologne Conservatory while sharing an apartment. For a couple of years we played together almost daily - trading ideas and looking for our musical paths. In the first half of the 1990s we largely fell out of touch, and in 1996, Achim and his wife Gabriele moved from Cologne to Amsterdam. We didn't play together for the next decade but would occasionally hang out at festivals or in Achim's adopted hometown when I visited as a member of the Amsterdam-based ICP Orchestra. Since the mid-2000s we have renewed our musical relationship, and I'm very excited about our "second spring"; although we have long been working on our musical materials independently, we are still very much in sync with one another."-Achim Kaufmann
At The Squid's Ear!
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• Show Bio for Achim Kaufmann
"Achim Kaufmann was born into a musical family in Aachen, Germany, in 1962, and became fascinated by jazz and the possibilities of improvisation as a teenager. He started writing tunes around that time. Later he studied music at the Conservatory in Cologne and also took classes with creative masters such as Dave Holland, Steve Coleman, Muhal Richard Abrams, George Lewis, and Steve Lacy.
From 1996 to 2009, he lived in Amsterdam where he became part of that city's internationally renowned improvised music scene.Since 2002, he has been touring internationally with the trio Kaufmann/Gratkowski/de Joode, an improvising unit which has released four CDs so far, to much critical acclaim.
In the late '90s and '00s, Achim led two groups with reed player Michael Moore: trio kamosc and gueuledeloup quartet.In 2007, he recorded kyrill, a set of compositions for piano trio featuring Valdi Kolli and Jim Black. Their follow-up cd, entitled verivyr, was released in 2011.
He has also collaborated with his wife, poet/painter Gabriele Guenther, on the audiodrama Borderline - From the Shadows of a Journey, and has written music for various chamber ensembles.In his solo work, mixed techniques are used to create a fluctuating world of sounds and gestures. Resonance and reverberation, space and density play an important role in both his solo and ensemble work.
Since his move to Berlin, he got involved in various new projects, such as the trio grünen with Robert Landfermann and Christian Lillinger, Oni Kramler (with Matthias Schubert, Antonio Borghini, and various guests), and a trio with cellist Okkyung Lee and trumpeter Axel Dörner.
In 2013, the sextet SKEIN (Kaufmann/Gratkowski/de Joode plus Richard Barrett, Okkyung Lee, and Tony Buck) had its premiere at the dOeK festival in Amsterdam and subsequently recorded for SWR radio.
He recently released duo albums with long-standing collaborators Michael Moore and Thomas Heberer.
In addition, Achim has played and/or recorded with Han Bennink, Mark Dresser, George Lewis, Steve Swallow, Tobias Delius, Wolter Wierbos, Mark Helias, Paul Rutherford, Thomas Lehn, Ab Baars, Paul Lovens, Dylan van der Schyff, Peggy Lee, Chris Speed, Tomász Stanko, Gerd Dudek, Bill Elgart, Paul Lytton, Harri Sjöström, Andrea Parkins, Harris Eisenstadt, Ingrid Laubrock, Tristan Honsinger, Shelley Hirsch, Steve Swell, Thomas Heberer, Urs Leimgruber, Roger Turner, Fay Victor, Fred Lonberg-Holm, John Hollenbeck, Bob Brookmeyer, Simon Nabatov, Lê Quan Ninh, Gerry Hemingway, John Hébert, Al Foster, Adam Nussbaum, and many more.
He was awarded the German SWR Jazz Award in 2001, and the prestigious Albert Mangelsdorff award in 2015.
"For many years, Achim Kaufmann has been one of the most inspiring and exciting personalities of the European jazz and improvisation scene. His music bears witness to great harmonic subtlety and structural depth. A brilliant pianist and composer, his reflected exploration of tradition has led him to a nuanced, contemporary sound language that encompasses poetry, energy and abstraction in equal measure." "-Julia Neupert, SWR radio-Achim Kaufmann Website (http://www.achimkaufmann.com/bio.html)
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