Thomas Borgmann

Organic: Live In Karlsruhe, Germany

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This live date from 1997 features reedman Thomas Borgmann with bassist Wilber Morris and the late Denis Charles on drums performing in Germany. Though it was the first show of a tour, there is no hesitation on the part of the trio. Sound begins to come from Charles, who ushers in a rubbing of his kit, a few taps to the wood, and then Borgmann enters with one short line, then a long line, then an invitation to Morris. When the pizzicato begins, slowly at first, in tandem with Charles motioning around the kit with a loose orderly direction, it becomes Borgmann's cue to move into the space and begin to speak in those gorgeous elongated legato phrases of his, edges off the tone, but biting nonetheless. Charles is his fixture, compelling him, edging him toward the ledge that Morris finally urges him to leap over in "Down Under." Almost 19 minutes long, this opening track better sums up the language of articulation used by this trio than anything else on the set, though all of its is worthwhile. Other moments in the shop that offer flashes of lightning the darkness include the stunning multiphonics Borgmann employs in "Organic Sweet," and his below-the-belt Sonny Rollins low notes in "Ode to Sonny." Morris and Charles don't have to worry about containing or keeping up with Borgmann; they are deeply connected to his sound world, crisscrossing tonalities and sonorous problems with the ease of a child. There are moments of thunder and moments of pastoral richness and pure emotion as these three take on the cosmic muse and create a series of microtonal improvisations that leave the listener stunned.

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