Thursday, April 30, 2020

COVID-19 Level 3: Day 3

solo jazz saxophoneThe Loft were streaming live from Cologne this morning. Today’s concert was divided into three short sets. First up was the solo alto saxophone of Leonhard Huhn. I have only heard few things online here and there, and he was part of the alto saxophone ensemble for Hayden Chisholm’s album Auto Poetica. I dig his warm sound and melodic approach, even the multiphonic playing retained some of the melodicism. I like to listen to more for him (add it to the list!)

solo jazz saxophoneThe second set was Frank Gratkowski solo. It was a contrast to Huhn set. Starting off quite intense and jagged before moving onto very quiet sounds and then onto short blasts and smears (almost like someone had randomly edited someone playing lines on sax). There’s so much presence in his tone – an edge but still full-toned. Listening to Frank I always wonder how he does it - like when he mixed up playing and singing notes will maintaining the integrity of line. Towards the end of the set I thought he was doing his thing and creating an illusion that the sound was cutting out.... and then he spoke... and the mic was cutting out. The fixed the audio and he finished off with another improvisation. It was a nice contrast between the two solo approaches. Introspected then extroverted.

jazz saxophone duoThen Huhn joined Frank for a duo – the first time they have played in a duo setting. I really enjoyed the blend of two altos. Although their sounds are different they came together nicely. And their individual approaches came together nicely when combined. Frank even played a little bit of sopranino too. And I’m certain the finished on Charlie Haden’s “Silence” (I was working so attention was 100% - sorry guys!). Aside from some technical issues towards the end of Frank’s set, as with yesterday the live sound and production was great .... not sure about the blue/neon though.

Third Stream MusicIt was a day of contrasts, as after the headphones came off, Dizzy Gillespie’s Perceptions came on (by the time I set up the computer speakers I won’t be working from home any more!). I picked this up a few years ago when I was checking out some ‘third stream’ recordings. Recorded in 1961, Dizzy is the featured soloist playing six pieces by J.J. Johnson for brass orchestra and rhythm section (21 pieces plus Dizzy). I’ll have to bust out the liner notes to see if it mentions how this session came about as it’s a really interesting recording showcasing a different side of Diz . I’d be curious to read some reviews of the album from back in the day to see what was thought about it at the time. Perceptions could be the ticket if you fancy something a bit different from his ‘usual’ output.

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