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Laubrock, Ingrid Octet: Zurich Concert (Intakt)

The NEWJazz Meeting of the SWR German Radio in Baden-Baden brought saxophonist Ingrid Laubrock together with Tom Rainey, Ben Davis, Drew Gress, Liam Noble, Ted Reichman and Mary Halvorson to develop these 7 pieces, recorded live in concert in Zurich, 2011.

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product information:

UPC: 7640120192211

Label: Intakt
Catalog ID: INT221
Squidco Product Code: 19102

Format: CD
Condition: New
Released: 2014
Country: Switzerland
Packaging: Jewel Case
Recorded at Rote Fabrik in Zurich, Switzerland, on December 10th, 2011, by Wolfgang Bachner.


Ingrid Laubrock-saxophone, composition

Mary Halvorson-guitar

Tom Arthurs-trumpet

Ted Reichman-accordion

Liam Noble-piano

Ben Davis-cello

Drew Gress-bass

Tom Rainey-drums, xylophon

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track listing:

1. Glasses 4:59

2. Novemberdoodle 11:04

3. Blue Line and Sinker 2:41

4. Chant 13:18

5. Matrix 12:48

6. Nightbus 18:29

7. Der Zauberberg 10:14
Related Categories of Interest:

Free Improvisation
NY Downtown & Jazz/Improv
Octet Recordings

descriptions, reviews, &c.

"The unmistakability of its voices is one of Jazz's greatest virtues. Only the one who stands out of the almost bewildering number of piano players, saxophonists, trumpet players, bassists or drummers through his own characteristic sound has a chance of being recognized on an international level. The tradition of Jazz has shown that developing this kind of characteristic musical language in most cases only works in collaboration with experienced artists in the field of improvisation. While legions of young musicians practice their licks at music school, Ingrid Laubrock chose to leave Germany already at the age of eighteen and head for Great Britain in order to find a broader improvisational playing field in the FIRE collective in London and an experienced private teacher in Jean Toussaint, a former Art Blakey Jazz Messenger.

This courage has been well worthwhile. Nowadays Laubrock can be seen as one of the most significant voices of the younger Jazz players. And, furthermore, as one of the most creative. All this with a kind of music which continuously moves back and forth between the poles of compositional calculation and improvisational freedom: wild and controlled, gentle and enigmatic at the same time, in this respect comparable to the gestures in her playing, driven by an inner energy, which unexpectedly switches between precision and dislimitation. Not uncommonly, this results in thrilling nightmarish scenarios, most notably when Laubrock improvises freely, together with drummer Tom Rainey and pianist Liam Noble, in the trio Sleepthief which, since 2007, has been something of a musical homeland for the musician hailing from the small provincial town of Stadtlohn in the Mun̈ sterland region of Germany.

Curiously enough, this distinctive voice in Jazz was hardly known in her native land while in London she was long since considered an integral part of the rich British improvisation scene and had recorded for the Swiss Intakt label. It was only her performance on the JazzFest Berlin 2007 which aroused the interest of a wider public in Germany. The award of the prestigious SWR Jazz Prize in 2009 was an almost logical consequence.

The result was this particular project for the annual NEWJazz Meeting of the SWR2 Jazz department which culminated in a concert at the Rote Fabrik in Zürich. True to the original idea of Joachim-Ernst Berendt, these "Meetings" in Baden-Baden is where musicians come together who have not worked before in these constellations, and develop a new project within the framework of a week-long workshop which is then presented to the public in the form of a short concert tour. It gave Laubrock the opportunity to bring together musicians from her new living situation in New York, where she has been based since 2009, and musicians from London who had already been members of her first large ensemble "nein". As with her earlier nonet, the trio Sleepthief with the British pianist Liam Noble and the American drummer and percussionist Tom Rainey is part of the Ingrid Laubrock Octet. The other members include cellist Ben Davis and trumpet player Tom Arthurs from London. The new octet is completed by three musicians from the USA: guitar player Mary Halvorson who is also a member of Laubrock's quintet Anti-House, bass player Drew Gress and accordionist Ted Reichman.

This instrumental line up already indicates that for Ingrid Laubrock this project is by no means about standard Power Jazz, but about subtle sound structures. The saxophone player brought eight compositions to the rehearsals in the SWR studio in Baden-Baden, seven of which are to be found on this present CD. With the exception of "Blue Line & Sinker" which is a freely improvised introduction to the composition "Red Hook", some of the pieces are strictly notated and, due to their complexity - as in the case of "Matrix" - were even conducted (by Tom Rainey). Most of the compositions, however, despite their precisely notated formal structures also leave large open spaces for improvisation. Since these improvised passages developed with more and more gusto over the course of the concert tour of the NEWJazz Meeting, Laubrock decided to release the more 'colourful' Zurich live concert on CD instead of the perfect studio recordings. It starts with a medley of three pieces: "Glasses" is a subtle improvisation, played by six of the eight musicians on tuned water-filled glasses. Out of the tender glass harmonica sounds, in line with the dull winter weather during the concert tour, a melancholic "Novemberdoodle" develops, determined by the sound of the accordion which remains dominant also in the concluding improvisation "Blue Line & Sinker". "Chant", on the other hand, gives guitarist Mary Halvorson an opportunity to play one of her weird distortion solos - which incidentally were totally different on each of the four public performances of the octet.

Whosoever feels that these compositions focus too much on sound processes will get their money's worth in the second, more rhythmically oriented part of the concert. This does in fact begin with finely conceived duets in which the trumpet player Tom Arthurs first plays with drummer Tom Rainey and later with Ingrid Laubrock on tenor, but subsequently leads into this aforementioned, rhythmically intricate "Matrix", putting considerable demands on Tom Arthurs, Ted Reichman and Mary Halvorson. It is followed by "Nightbus", the most 'groovy' piece on this recording: a lurching ride through the dark of night, accompanied by a persistently repeating theme. Also the final piece, "Der Zauberberg", after an initial passage of glass harmonica, has a rhythmical structure, although it is more reminiscent of Minimal Music than Jazz. And this is exactly what constitutes the strength of Ingrid Laubrock's music: it is not easily pigeonholed but takes its impulses from the most diverse genres. And this kind of refreshing versatility is exactly what counts in today's improvised music!"-Reinhard Kager.

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