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OM (Urs Leimgruber / Christy Doran / Bobby Burri / Fredy Studer) : It's About Time (Intakt)

Extremely active from 1972-82, then reformed in 2008, and now entering a new phase of their improvisational journey, the OM quartet of Urs Leimgruber on saxophones, Christy Doran on electric guitar, Bobby Burri on double bass, and Fredy Studer on drums & percussion extend their transformative approach to free improv through what they refer to as "ElectroAcoustiCore".

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product information:

UPC: 7640120193485

Label: Intakt
Catalog ID: ITK348.2
Squidco Product Code: 29712

Format: CD
Condition: New
Released: 2020
Country: USA
Packaging: Jewel Case
Recorded at Gabriel Recording, in Stalden, Switzerland, on February 4th, 5th, 6th and 7th, 2020, by Jean-Marc Foussat, assisted by Thomas Gabriel.


Urs Leimgruber-soprano saxophone, tenor saxophone

Christy Doran-electric guitar, devices

Bobby Burri-double bass, devices

Fredy Studer-drums, percussion, bowed metal

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Artist Biographies:

"Born Lucerne, 1952; saxophones, composer.

Urs Leimgruber has been active for many years in the areas of contemporary improvisation, composition, jazz and new music. One of his earliest associations was as a member of the electric jazz/free music group 'Om' with Christy Doran, Fredy Studer and Bobby Burri, and he later formed the 'Reflexionen' quartet with Don Friedman and Bobby Burri in New York. More recently, his own projects have included 'Ensemble Bleu', 'Xylem', e_a.sonata 02 with the ARTE saxophone quartet, as well as a long association with Fritz Hauser: as a duo with the ongoing Music for saxophone and percussion; in the Leimgruber/Roidinger/Hauser trio; a trio with Joëlle Léandre; and a trio with Marilyn Crispell. He later formed the 'quartet noir' with Marilyn Crispell, Joëlle Léandre and Fritz Hauser, a trio with Jacques Demierre and Barre Phillips and the group SIX with Jacques Demierre, Isabelle Duthoit, Charlotte Hug, Dorothea Schürch and Thomas Lehn. Urs Leimgruber has also performed extensively as a solo artist and has been involved in mixed media presentations, providing music for dance, radio plays and film.

Urs Leimgruber has undertaken concert tours in Western and Eastern Europe, USA, Canada, South America and Japan, and appeared at concerts and on recordings with such musicians as Steve Lacy, Fred Frith, Evan Parker, Joe McPhee, Lauren Newton, Michel Doneda, Keith Rowe, Günter Christmann, Sunny Murray and Günter Müller among many others."

-European Free Improv (EFI) (

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"Christy Doran, electric & acoustic guitar

Christy Doran was born in Dublin, Ireland and has lived in Lucerne, Switzerland since his childhood. His father was an Irish ballad singer, providing Christy with his first exposure to music.

In the 1970´s he was a founding member (along with Fredy Studer, Urs Leimgruber and Bobby Burri) of the seminal Swiss band "OM". Tours throughout Europe, radio/TV - appearances, workshops, music for ballet, theatre and film. Over the years, his career has included countless solo concerts, in which he regularly pushes to the limits the capabilities of a single guitar. He has played in duos with Marty Ehrlich, Harry Pepl, Fritz Hauser, Dave Doran, Dom Um Romao, John Wolf-Brennan, Robert Dick, Ray Anderson, among others. After playing in a trio with Jasper van´t Hof, he went on to form the "Christy Doran´s May 84" septet with Norma Winstone, Trilok Gurtu, Urs Leimgruber, Rosko Gee, Dom Um Romao and Dave Doran. He has been a member of the "Peter Warren Quartet" with Victor Lewis and John Surman, and "RED TWIST & TUNED ARROW" with Stephan Wittwer and Fredy Studer (1985 - 1987).

Christy Doran was also a co-founder of "Doran/Studer/Burri/Magnenat," (later "Doran/Studer/Gerber/Magnenat") and member of a quartet with Bobby Previte, Mark Helias and Gary Thomas. He played in a trio with Marilyn Mazur and Kim Clarke, as well as with Sibylle Pomorin´s "Augeries of Speed" meeting Terry Jenour, Annie Whitehead, Kim Clarke, Herb Robertson, Kamal Sabir. As a member of Urs Leimgruber´s "Ensemble Bleu" he also played with Francoise Kubler, Louis Sclavis, Hans Koch.

Other performances have included work with Carla Bley, Albert Mangelsdorff, Bob Stewart, Edvard Vesala, Charlie Mariano, Manfred Schoof, Iréne Schweizer, Aldo Romano, Piérre Favre, Peter Schärli, Glenn Ferris, Wolfgang Dauner, Fernando Sounders, Heiri Känzig, Julio Barreto, Sonny Sharrock, Jim Meneses, Keven Bruce Harris, Martin Schütz, Daniel Mouton, Ronan Guilfoyle, Marc Peterson, Burhan Oecal, Werner Lüdi, Christoph Baumann, Lars Lindvall, Mark Halbheer, Urs Blöchlinger, Günter Müller, Lauren Newton, Tim Berne, Jim Black, Gunther Schuller, Airto Moreira a.o. He has toured in Europe, North-Africa, India, the Caribic, Mexico, Bolivia, the U.S. and Canada.

1989 began a collaboration with trombonist Ray Anderson, which lead to the trio ANDERSON/BENNINK/DORAN (including drummer Han Bennink), which disbanded 1997.

1993 Christy Doran, together with Fredy Studer started the project "DORAN/STUDER/MINTON/BATES & ALI" play the music of JIMI HENDRIX". 1994 Django Bates was replaced by cellist Tom Cora. 1995/96 the band played in quartet with Phil Minton, Amin Ali, Fredy Studer and Christy Doran. Tours with this band throughout Europe, Scandinavia, , the US and Canada.

Since 1993 Christy Doran is working with American flutist Robert Dick and English drummer Steve Argüelles as the A.D.D. - Trio. 1994 Fredy Studer and Christy Doran refounded the double-bass - quartet with Jean-François Jenny-Clark (acoustic bass/Paris) and Jamaaladeen Tacuma (electric bass/Philadelphia).

1994 Swedish saxofonist Thomas Jàderlund invited Doran to play in the "Amazing Orchestra" (with Guy Klucevsek, Stein-Erik Tafjord, Svante Henryson, Tomasz Stanko, and Jonny Axelsson). A new collaboration with Albert Mangelsdorff, Bruno Spoerri and Reto Weber started 1997.

Recordings have included those with Hank Roberts, Joe McPhee, Corin Curschellas, Hardy Hepp, Helmut Zerlett, Iréne Lorenz, Boris Salchak, besides several recordings with musicians mentioned above.

Christy Doran´s current groups include "Christy Doran´s New Bag" (founded Dec. 97) with vocalist Bruno Amstad, Wolfgang Zwiauer on electric bass, and Fabian Kurattli on drums. the A.D.D. trio, and "Spöerri-Doran-Weber" with Albert Mangelsdorff.

Christy Doran also teaches at the "Musikhochschule" of Lucerne/Switzerland."

-Christy Doran Website (

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"Bobby Burri (* 1949 ) is a Swiss double bass player of fusion and creative jazz.Live and act

Influenced by beat music, R&B and jazz, Burri began playing electric bass in the 1960s before switching to the double bass. From 1970 he studied double bass at the Lucerne Conservatory and at the Swiss Jazz School. From 1972 he was a member of the OM quartet touring all over Europe (with Christy Doran, Urs Leimgruber and Fredy Studer ), of which he belonged until they dissolved in 1982 and with which he released five albums. Then he worked with Leimgruber in a duo made up of Don Friedman and Trilok Gurtu or Joël Alloucheadvanced. In the next few years he played with Pierre Favre, Daniel Bourquin and Léon Francioli, but also with the trio basso (Eckart Schloifer, Othello Liesmann, Wolfgang Güttler ) and Barry Altschul as well as with Albert Mangelsdorff and Manfred Schoof. Then he led a quartet with Tim Berne, Hank Roberts and Leimgruber and went on tour with Christy Doran, Hans Koch and Martin Schütz. He also gave numerous solo concerts, supported by electronics massively expanded the tonal and rhythmic possibilities of his instrument.

Burri teaches jazz bass at the Lucerne University of Applied Sciences.

In 2003 Burri was awarded the Art and Culture Prize of the City of Lucerne."

-Wikipedia (Translated by Google) (

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"Fredy Studer, drums/percussion

Fredy Studer was born on June 16, 1948, in Lucerne (Switzerland), where he also lives today. He is an autodidact. His music performances since the early seventies have been as eclectic as his freelance activities with musicians, ranging from "A", as in John Abercrombie, to "Z", as in John Zorn.

For the past 45 years, he has performed at festivals, given concerts and workshops, and recorded for radio and television, as well as music for dance productions and radio plays, theatre and film music in Europe, Africa, Japan, Central and South America, the Caribbean, in Taiwan, India, Russia and in Canada and the USA. He has been honoured with numerous prizes and awards.

Current groups and projects include: the hardcore chambermusic trio "Koch-Schütz-Studer" with Hans Koch and Martin Schütz (since 1990); "Phall Fatale" with Joy Frempong, Joana Aderi, John Edwards and Daniel Sailer; the Jimi Hendrix Project with Christy Doran, Erika Stucky and Jamaaladeen Tacuma; the revived legendary "OM" band with Christy Doran, Urs Leimgruber and Bobby Burri; the trio with Katharina Weber and Fred Frith; the band "Urumchi" with Saadet Türköz, Hans Hassler and Alfred Zimmerlin; and the percussion trio with Robyn Schulkowsky and Joey Baron. Studer also works as a freelance drummer and performs a limited number of select solo concerts.

Fredy Studer was one of the first drummers to incorporate open improvisation and grooves into his style. The specialist journal "Drums & Percussion" wrote: "... without doubt, Swiss percussionist Fredy Studer is one of the most innovative drummers in Europe..."

Fredy Studer's works and collaboration has been documented on more than 90 recordings."

-Fredy Studer Website (

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track listing:

1. Like A Lake 8:26

2. Perpetual-Motion Food 6:43

3. Nowhere 6:54

4. It's About Time 11:44

5. Ona Bare Branch 4:41

6. Covid-19 Blues 4:05

7. Fragments 6:15

8. String Holder 9:38
sample the album:

descriptions, reviews, &c.

"The band is cult. This band wrote history from 1972 to 1982 combining the energy of rock music with the power of free improvisation. With enormous vitality they bring together the experiences of a young generation electrified by Jimi Hendrix, fascinated by John Coltrane and inspired by free jazz. OM brought rock music into spontaneous musical processes with uncertain endings.

After a long break from touring, the band returned in 2008 with a brilliant concert at the Willisau Jazz Festival, with highly explosive freely improvised music ("Willisau". Intakt CD 170).

Now the journey goes on as OM reinvents itself. At small live concerts in Lucerne the band creates and forges new concepts and themes. The new album "It's about Time" presents pieces that were developed from concepts, improvisations and compositions by the four musicians. Everything is there: the energy, the power, the radicality, the freedom, the form. Delivered with the passion, the skill and the experience of an entire lifetime of the four musicians. "ElectroAcoustiCore" is what the band calls their sound. "-Intakt

"During the 1970s when a lot of rock-jazz fusion bands sprung up, four musicians from Switzerland came up with their own, singular take on the hybrid. Saxophonist Urs Leimgruber, electric guitarist Christy Doran, acoustic bassist Bobby Burri and drummer Fredy Studer named their band after John Coltrane's 1965 frantic exercise Om, and this OM sought to bring aggressive free jazz to rock, pushing much further out than most of their contemporaries. Convened in 1972, the quartet made records made records for ECM's JAPO imprint in the late '70s and then called it a day in 1982. Eventually, they regrouped in the 2000s and a 2008 festival date at Willisau produced a live document from Intakt. A decade later, OM returns with a studio release.

It's About Time, therefore, is OM"s first non-live album since 1980. Yes, it's about time. The faces are the same, the instruments are the same, and you can still trace the lineage of their music back to the Coltrane's Pharaoh Sanders period and the molten, unbound guitar-centric rock of Jimi Hendrix. The twenty-first century version of OM updates and expands their sound made possible by electronics and perhaps a wider range of percussion from Studer. If anything, OM is even less inhibited than they were during the 70s.

Impulse still reigns supreme but it's the synergism that really makes the plot, highlighting sharp contrasts in sounds or making uncanny resemblances of sound from different instruments. Deft use of electronic alterations make it hard to trace the source of sounds on "Covid-19 Blues," they all just blend in together to form a strange brew of noise. Much of "Like a Lake" is dispersed, the bass and drums settling into a groove about four minutes in. Doran and Leimgruber converse freely in higher pitches, dug into the opposite end of the tonal spectrum from the steady march of Burri and Studer.

When "Perpetual-Motion Food" gets into gear with a single-note stomp that resembles the intro to Hendrix's "Purple Haze," it's a set up not for heavy blues but rather for Leimgruber's unshackled soprano sax run, and it's not long before Doran and the rest coalesce around that. When he recedes, we find Burri's original threatening bass crawl is still with us, forming a springboard once again but with Doran going on flights of fancy.

"Fragments" flies out of the chute blasting notes like artillery, then Burri peppering the landscape with unnaturally high tones. In another segment, Leimgruber is lobbing more haymakers. "Nowhere" is a respite from the raw fury, baring further OM's interest in uncovering uncommon tonalities such as the distant wind phenomenon they create using scrapes of strings, the brushing of cymbals and labored puffs on a reed amid the barely perceptible swirl of electronics.

There are other examples where they slyly coax modulations together to come up with strange brews. The soprano saxophone is an instrument known for high timbres, but Leimgruber is able to achieve baritone-low tones from it on "String Holder" that are virtually indistinguishable from Burri's bass, and goes way up to top of the soprano's upper register. "On a Bare Branch" is a bare song indeed, full of high-register creaks coming from all directions but eventually, Leimgruber's urgent sax comes to the fore.

Though OM's bag of tricks is deep, they make it all work because that know each other so well. "It's About Time" is set on a single chord but full of intrigue with Burri on bowed bass but settles into a groove about 4 minutes in where Leimgruber and Doran battle it out, with Burri and Studer so responsive to subtle adjustments in the flow.

If OM had just materialized in the present day, it would be easy to place them on the forefront of improvised music. They were first doing this almost 50 years ago, however, and today they are doing it as well as they've ever done it. Turns out, some of the old guys are still leading the way into the future of jazz."-S. Victor Aaron, Something Else Reviews

Get additional information at Something Else!
Related Categories of Interest:

Improvised Music
Free Improvisation
Electro-Acoustic Improv
European Improvisation, Composition and Experimental Forms
Quartet Recordings

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