The trio of Frank Gratkowski on clarinets and alto sax, Michael Vorfeld on percussion, and Richard Scott on modular synthesizer, also known as Spectre, freely improvising in dramatic and generally reserved ways, intently focusing on sound and interchange.
Label: Creative Sources
Catalog ID: cs339
Squidco Product Code: 21496
Packaging: Cardboard Gatefold
Recorded February 2015 in Berlin, Germany by Ernesto Rodrigues.
Richard Scott-modular synthesizer
Frank Gratkowski-contrabass clarinet, Bb clarinet, alto saxophone
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1. Eins In Viel 4:57
2. Auf Dictem Grund 4:45
3. Kurs Haltend 6:29
4. Hauch Mit 7:24
5. Sog 13:12
6. Ungelost 4:18
7. Langes Band 10:37
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"Of these three, Michael Vorfeld is the guy I know. His music has been reviewed quite a bit in Vital Weekly; he's a percussion player with quite a reputation in the field of improvised music. I am not sure if I heard about the two others before. There is Frank Gratkowski on bass and contrabass clarinet, bb clarinet and alto saxophone (a previous work by him was reviewed in Vital Weekly 560, but not by me) and there is Richard Scott on modular synthesizer, what I call sometimes the 'new laptop' (everybody has one!). I don't think I know him.
In February last year they recorded these seven pieces in Berlin, which were mixed by Scott later on. What can be noticed is that despite the use of a modular synthesizer much of these seven pieces sound like more traditional improvised music. Especially Gratkowski's addition to the menu seems conventional to me. But also Vorfeld occasionally goes along in that way, banging the hell out of his kit. In 'Ungelöst', the sixth piece, the modular goes more upfront and the others play a much moody tune. This is the shortest piece on offer here, but for me it's also the best one.
Gratkowski's contribution also seems to be the jazziest one, in a very free role of course, which makes this probably also more conventional than I would love to see. When this trio hit upon a quiet tone, a sustaining cluster, such as in 'Kurs Haltend' or that previously mentioned 'Ungelöst' there is immediately tension; I would have loved to see more of that experimental film noir music and perhaps a bit less conventional free jazz/improvised. There is however some great bits to be found here, but not throughout."-Frans de Ward, Vital Weekly
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• Show Bio for Richard Scott
"Dr. Richard Scott is a UK-born Berlin-based composer and free improvising musician working with analogue modular synthesizers and alternative controllers such as his own self-designed WiGi infra red controller developed at STEIM, the Buchla Thunder and Buchla Lightning. He has been composing and performing improvised music for over 25 years, recently performing and recording with artists such as Evan Parker, Shelley Hirsch, Sidsel Endreson, Twinkle³, Richard Barrett, Axel Doerner, Jon Rose, Clive Bell, Kazuhisa Uchihashi, Emilio Gordoa, Thomas Lehn, Frank Gratkowski, Michael Vorfeld, Ute Wassermann, Phil Marks, David Birchall, David Ross, Bark! and Grutronic amongst many others.
He studied improvisation with John Stevens, saxophone with Elton Dean and Steve Lacy, Action Theater improvisation with Sten Rudstrom and electroacoustic composition with David Berezan and Ricardo Climent.
His work has been featured on BBC Radio 3 and 4, International Computer Music Conference (Athens and Huddersfield) London Jazz Festival, BEAM, Bratislava NEXT Festival of Advanced Music, Konfrontationen, Austria, SARC Sonorities Belfast, International Festival for Artistic Innovation, Leeds, Berlin Interaktion Improvised Music Festival and MANTIS Electroacoustic Music Festival, Manchester. He was a long term artistic resident at STEIM in Amsterdam, sometimes a Lecturer and visiting professor at various Universities and co-curator of two important long-running "underground" concert series in Berlin: AUXXX Berlin and Basic Electricity.
In 1993 he was awarded a PhD from London University for his thesis on free improvisation. In 2010 he completed a MusM (distinction) in Electroacoustic Music Composition at NOVARS, Manchester University. He wrote extensively for Wire magazine, was administrator at the LMC (London Musician's Collective) and has been an active member of the improvising and electroacoustic communities in London, Manchester and Berlin."-Richard Scott Website (http://richard-scott.net/about/)
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• Show Bio for Frank Gratkowski
"Frank Gratkowski, saxophone. Born in Hamburg, 1963.
Started playing the saxophone at 16 and, following a period at the Hamburg Conservatory (Hamburger Musikhochschule), moved in 1985 to study at the Cologne Conservatory of Music with Heiner Wiberny, graduating in 1990.
Further studies with Charlie Mariano, Sal Nistico and Steve Lacy.
Frank Gratkowski has been working as a soloist in various international formations (Grubenklang Orchester, Klaus Koenig Orchester, Musikfabrik NRW, Tony Oxley Celebration Orchestra, Bentje Braam, BikBentBraam, All Ears, Zeitkratzer, WDR Big band, etc.). Since 1990 he has been giving solo performances throughout Europe, Canada and USA. With his first solo program, he was a 1991 prizewinner in the Musik Kreativ contest. The release of the solo CD "Artikulationen" followed the same year and a new one "Artikulationen II" in 2002.
Since 1992 he has been working in a duo with the pianist Georg Graewe (CD "VicissEtudes"). The duo is often extended through the participation of different additional musicians, such as drummer Paul Lovens (CD "Quicksand") and bassist John Lindberg (CD "Arrears").
In 1995 he founded the "Frank Gratkowski Trio" with Dieter Manderscheid (Germany), bass, and Gerry Hemingway (USA), drums, (CDs "Gestalten" and "The Flume Factor" ). In 2000 the trio has been extended to a quartet by Dutch trombonist Wolter Wierbos (CDs "Kollaps", "Spectral Reflections", "Facio" and "Le Vent et la Gorge"). Since 2003 also appearing as a Double Quartet plus Tobias Delius, Herb Robertson, Wilbert DeJoode and Michael Vatcher. In 2005 he got the SWR Jazzprize.
In 1999 the duo with the Italian trombonist Sebastiano Tramontana has been formed and since 2001 Frank Gratkowski has been performing with a trio including Wilbert De Jode (NL) on bass and Achim Kaufmann (D) on piano (CDs "Kwast" and "Unearth"). Since 2006 he's working with the Trio Gratkowski / Brown / Winant (CDs "Wake" and "Vermilion Traces/Donaueschingen 2009"). He is also a co-leader / composer of the Multiple Joy[ce] Orchestra and got a commission to compose for the ensemble Apartment House by "November Music " (Den Bosch NL) and the "Huddersfield Comtemporary Music Fesitival" (England) in 2009. Further actual projects are Fo[u]r Alto, a saxophone ensemble dedicated to microtonal music and "Artikulationen E" a solo program for saxophone with 8 channel live electronic.
Frank Gratkowski played on nearly every German and on numerous international Jazz and contemporary music Festivals including Vancouver, Toronto, Chicago, New York, Seattle, Quebec, Les Mans, Muelhuus, Groeningen, Nickelsdorf, Barcelona, Lithuania, Warsaw, Zagreb, Prague, Bratislava, Sofia, Bucharest, Odessa and Roma, Huddersfield, London.
He has been teaching saxophone and ensembles at the Cologne, Berlin and Arnhem Conservatory of Music and is giving workshops all around the world.
Furthermore he has performed with Robert Dick, Phil Wachsmann, Radu Malfatti, Herb Robertson, Marcio Mattos, Eugenio Colombo, Peter Kowald, Ray Anderson, Michael Moore, Ken Vandermark, Greg Osby, Kenny Wheeler, Louis Sclavis, John Betsch, Jane Ira Bloom, Connie and Hannes Bauer, Xu Fengxia, James Newton, Muhal Richard Abrams, John Lindberg, Michael Formaneck, Ernst Reijseger, Fred van Hove, Theo Jörgensmann, Phil Minton, Peter Brötzmann, Mark Dresser, Mark Feldman, Hamid Drake, Michiel Braam, Han Bennink, Mal Waldron, Misha Mengelberg a.m.o."-Frank Gratkowski Website (http://gratkowski.com/biography/)
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