Gisler, Fabin / Schroder, John / Vallon, Colin / Walsdorf, Henrik
Released in: Switzerland
"Though he's played with some prime-time bandleaders-including pianists Bill Carrothers and Mark Soskin, saxophonist Gary Smulyan and guitarist Kurt Rosenwinkel-Swiss bassist Fabian Gisler is a new name to me. Backyard Poets is his debut album as leader, and it's a pleasure to make his acquaintance, and those too of his colleagues Henrik Walsdorff, saxophones, Colin Vallon, bass, and John Schroder, drums.
Without any prior knowledge of the musicians, and with no clues provided by the studiously Absurdist liner notes written by critic Tom Gsteiger, the band photo on the inside cover of Backyard Poets suggests a quartet of wild-eyed and tousled late-twenty somethings who would relish strangling Diderot's proverbial last king with the entrails of the last priest.
Maybe they would, but the music suggests otherwise. Though it has its moments of tumult, particularly on the final three tunes (recorded live a few months prior to the rest of the album), the predominant vibe on Backyard Poets is gentle, elliptical, understated and pretty. Six of the tracks are group improvisations, and four are based on themes composed individually by Vallon, Gisler and Walsdorff, but there's no clear demarcation between them.
Balladic group improvisations make up the first seven tracks of the album, with Vallon's "Sans Un Mot" containing the only pre-composed theme. The group is fleet-footed, softly spoken and close-miked. Walsdorff favors the treble register on both saxophones, with a Lee Konitz-like purity of sound and a preference for sustained tones which float like little cotton wool clouds over the piano, bass and drums. Vallon spends as much time inside the piano as he does at the keyboard, variously plucking, stroking, scratching and dampening the strings. Schroder spends most of his time on brushes rather than sticks, his nimble snare drum flurries as impressionistic as the saxophone and piano. Gisler himself mostly elects to fulfill a traditional bass role, supporting and interacting with the other players rather than hogging the limelight, and he approaches the bass as a melody instrument as much as an engine of propulsion. [...]"-Chris May, All About Jazz
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Shipping Weight: 4.00 units
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Catalog ID: 645
Squidco Product Code: 8184
Packaging: Cardstock foldover
Tracks 1 - 7 recorded October 1, 2, 2005 at Radio studio 2, DRS, Zürich by Deaniel Dettwiler, tracks 8 - 10 recorded live June 25, 2005 at the "Bird's Eye Jazz Club" Basel, by Cornelius Bohn.
Fabin Gisler-double bass
Henrik Walsdorf-alto, tenor saxophones
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1. Poetry From Neverland A
2. Poetry From Neverland B
3. The Inner Storm
4. Sham King
5. Sans Un Mot
6. Fields Of Darkness
7. A New Life
8. Starsky's Delight
9. Freedom Speech
10. Neues Stuck