Sunday, August 21, 2016

Simon Kanzler – Double Identity (2016)

Simon Kanzler

Simon Kanzler - vibraphone
Elias Stemeseder - piano
Igor Spallati - bass
Max Mucha - bass
Max Andrzejewski - drums
with Chamber Ensemble

Double Identity


By Adam Baruch

This is the second album by German vibraphonist/composer Simon Kanzler, recorded in a quintet setting with pianist Elias Stemeseder, bassists Italian Igor Spallati and Polish Max Mucha and drummer Max Andrzejewski. A chamber ensemble consisting of eight additional players also participates in the recording. The album presents six pieces and a three-part suite which gives the album its name, all composed by Kanzler.

The music is a contemplative form of Improvised avant-garde, very introvert and minimalistic, which deals mostly with the relationships between sound and silence, and the exchanges between the participating musicians. There is no melodic stream in the conventional form, but there is continuance and development. The music happens on three juxtaposed planes, created by the vibes / drums conversation, the piano contributions, which are the only link this music has with the conventional Jazz idiom, and lastly the double bass conversations. By bringing these planes closer or further away from each other and by changing the focus on the specific plane is where the dynamics of this music fluctuates. Volume and emotional wise the music stays almost on the same level throughout the entire duration, which obviously makes this music quite challenging and difficult to follow.

But regardless of the intellectual effort this music demands from the listener, it definitely has its merits, expanding the boundaries of contemporary music. There are many innovative and imaginative moments, which will surprised even the most experienced connoisseurs of contemporary music, and those should find this music as much entertaining and aesthetically pleasing, as educational.

There is no doubt that this music derives a lot of its content and form from contemporary Classical music, especially the suite. In the expanded instrumental form the music keeps its basic characteristics, but becomes much more impressive and evocative, and as such sounding much more emotional than the quintet pieces, which tend to be a bit chilly.

Overall this is another piece of music created by young European musicians, who keep searching for new forms of expression, boldly ignoring limitations and traditionalism, which keeps music stagnant. Kudos to the WhyPlayJazz label for serving as a faithful home to these visionary souls, spreading their musical gospel to the world.

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