A legendary moment in European free jazz, but which stand as some of the most powerful music of the time! Cien Fuegos present a reissue of Peter Kowald Quintet's self-titled album, originally released by FMP in 1972. Personnel: Günter Christmann - trombone; Peter Kowald - tuba, bass, alphorn; Peter van der Locht - alto saxophone; Paul Lovens - drums; Paul Rutherford - trombone. Composed and produced by Peter Kowald. Recorded by Eberhard Sengpiel at Akademie der Künste, Berlin, on January 19th, 1972. First released on FMP as FMP 0070.
"The informal freemasonry among European practitioners of the New Music grows daily stronger. Although the Continentals are rarely allowed to play here (thanks to antiquated regulations), British musicians now regularly cross the Channel to appear side-by-side with the best players Europe has to offer.
This album represents just such a collaboration, with trombonist Paul Rutherford taking his place in the band of German multi-instrumentalist, Peter Kowald, which itself contains one Belgian (van de Locht) and one Dutchman (Lovens).
It was recorded at a concert in Berlin, during a Free Music Festival last January, and is a thoroughly excellent example of the kind of music to be heard at such events all over Europe.
The work of the trombone team is what catches the ear first; Rutherford produces his vast array of technical effects, and manages to make music out of them all the time. Near the end of “Pavement Bolognaise”, for instance, he plays a long unaccompanied passage made up of long, low growls, ending with a delicious smear, which is quite riveting.
Christmann is a rather more straightforward player (though not much) and makes a fine complement. When he, Rutherford, and Kowald (on Alphorn, I think) play together on the short “Guete Luuni”, the effect is like a brass band lament from outer space.
The leader himself has some impressive moments on bass, particularly on “Platte Talloere”, where he plays a long solo made up of strange scratching sounds (caused by pressing the bow down hard on the strings) and is beautifully accompanied by Lovens – who seems to have calmed down a lot since I first heard him a couple of years ago.
Van de Locht sounds like a very promising young musician, giving his best work in the ensemble improvisations, when he provides an upper line with a poignant, bitter-sweet flavor.
A quintet, then, which is integrated as well musically as it is nationally; and a LP of informal, enjoyable music, which is highly recommended.
_ By RICHARD WILLIAMS from: Melody Maker, June 17, 1972