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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.

Heberer, Thomas / Achim Kaufmann

Heberer, Thomas / Achim Kaufmann : Knoten (Red Toucan)
Label: Red Toucan    
Released in: Canada    

"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

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Related Categories of Interest:

Improvised Music
European Improv, Free Jazz & Related
Duo Recordings
Duo Recordings

Get additional information at Free Jazz Blog

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Product Information:

UPC: 777078600141

Label: Red Toucan
Catalog ID: RT 9347
Squidco Product Code: 17842

Format: CD
Condition: New
Released: 2013
Country: Canada
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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Track Listing:

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