Saturday, January 28, 2012

Inner Ear (Trzaska / Swell / Holmlander / Daisy) - Breathing Steam (Kilogram Records, 2011) by Bartek Adamczak

Inner Ear Quartet (band)

Mikolaj Trzaska - alto saxophone, bass clarinet, tarogat
Steve Swell - trombone
Per-Ake Holmlander - tuba
Tim Daisy - drums

Breathing Steam (Kilogram Records 2011)


Inner Ear group is an offspring of Ken Vandermark's Resonance Project (it's second edition to be precise, the one that resulted in "Kafka in Flight"). All the musicians involved here arrived late to Krakow the first night of the project and thus was formed the group to play the last set of the evening. Ironically enough, when the decision to reunite came and the band was to play a small tour in Poland last year, Tim Daisy and Steve Swell got stuck at the airport in Munich and couldn't show up for what was planned to be the final concert of the Autumn Jazz Festival of 2010. The other two played that night with Ken Vandermark who fortunately was still in town (more about which in this post). All the travelling - logistics problems did slow them down, but in the end the quartet got together, united by the will to play music with each other. The music on this cd was registered a week later in Radio Gdansk Studio.The cd starts with the havy kick of a sax-drums duo "Lonely Consumer". Powerfull, heavy on the bass pedal drumming against the fiery, fierce sound of the alto. The second piece ("Once Upon A Time In A Swamp") brings a complete change of the mood with cartoonish exploration of brassy whispers and glissandos courtesy of Per-Ake and Steve. Improv can be fun. "Monster Confessions" follows with a breathtaking beauty of the bass clarinet whisper, gracefully weaving its slow melody surrounded by little trombone squeaks, percussion clicks and tuba gurgles.

Once the quartet gets it going "Watch My Tongue" is bursting with instrumental chattering of the four instruments, with tuba taking more or less the role of the bass, with sax and trombone in a heated discussion over the drummed broken beats. "How Long is The Train" on the other hand starts as a peacefull meditation on silence and exercise in patience as it gradually becomes filled with inner melodies and sub-surface tensions. Throughout the 11 selections of the album the band portrays a wide range of melodic and dynamic possibilities. Yet throughout all the mode and mood changes it truly gives justice to its name - inner ear. This is the music that's comes from within the musicians themselves as well as from within the relations between them.

The musician's playing is fabulous (ckeck the bluesy trombone wailing and the tuba sound effects in "Ta-Pies"), yet it's the ensemble's unity that makes this records a success - exemplified by the perfect balance and harmony they achieve in lyrical "For Our Mothers" or the hypnotic tribal dance quality of the "Tibetan Gypsy" with Mikolaj on tarogato. This is an extremely diversified release, all the while unified by the will and focus these four musicians show in creating together. Inspiring and easily recommended. Inner music for the inner ear.



Author: Bartek Adamczak
http://jazzalchemist.blogspot.com/

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