Wed Feb. 22, 2017


Philipp Gropper: tenor saxophone
Elias Stemeseder: piano, synthesizer
Andreas Lang: bass
Oliver Steidle: drums

The music presents a set of passionate statements, beautifully crafted by their composer and wonderfully executed by the quartet, which combines four individual talents into a fresh amalgam, where the total is greater than the sum of its parts. Since I'm already familiar with Gropper, Lang and Steidle from other recordings, it is Wilk who is the nicest surprise of this album, playing some superbly imaginative lines and proving to be pianist definitely worth following in the future. Lang plays his usual wonderful bass staccatos and keeps the rhythm section as an integral part of the collective improvisation. Steidle, who is another veteran on the German scene and has a fine reputation as a highly imaginative and gifted drummer justifies his standing in full.
Although most of the music is improvised, it has a strong melodic ingredient, sometimes clearly noticeable but most of the time only present subconsciously. This music has a clearly defined direction and a sense of purpose, which many Free Jazz / Improvised Music recordings simply lack completely. To be completely free and unrestrained within specified harmonic and melodic boundaries is a much more sophisticated form of expression than complete tonal anarchy, something free improvisers tend to forget.
Overall this is an excellent debut group effort and I'm looking forward to hearing more from where this music came from, hopefully soon! (Adam Baruch)