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Soundohm

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Zentralquartett

Plie

Label: Intakt

Format: CD

Genre: Jazz

Out of stock

The problem that besets British jazz - from Ray Noble and Ronnie Scott to Barbara Thompson and Andy Sheppard - is light-music, 'Radio 2' gentility; in Germany it is what Michael Kator (describing the results of the Nazi ban on "hot Jewish music") called "the bane of German jazz, the dreaded 'um-papa' sound". Here, four free music veterans from East Berlin (Ernst-Ludwig Petrowsky, alto; Ulrich Gumpert, piano; Connie Bauer, trombone; Günter Sommer, percussion) have decided to ease up, let some 'dance music' in. Unfortunately, this opens the door to "the bane of German jazz": despite Carla Bley-style sarcasm, the jokes are too clumsy (and the arrangements too unplanned) to save us from 'um-papa'. From the ideological squirmings of Christian Broeking's German sleevenotes (the translation into 'English' by Susan Kaufmann-Guyer is impenetrable), the musicians seem to regret the collapse of Communism and the lack of opportunities for lucrative 'protest music' tours since the Wall came down in 1989. This is to put the cart before the horse with a vengeance: some free jazz players might have found a niche during the Cold War, but that is hardly reason to wax nostalgic about nuclear standoffs and the Stasi! Still, like the difficulties encountered in the 90s by the Ganelin Trio and Sergey Kuryokhin in Russia, such protests at least demonstrate that the market has not been quite the cure-all promised by the British press during the Velvet Revolutions. As usual, Connie Bauer plays gorgeous trombone, though one misses the embattled strenuousness that stretched him to the limit in previous ensembles. Sell out by all means, gentlemen, but not to the Bierkeller.
Details
Cat. number: Intakt CD 037
Year: 1994