Günter Sommer


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Drummer Günter Sommer, bassist Didier Levallet, and reedsman Sylvain Kassap had been playing together for a decade when they took part in the Workshop Freie Musik in Berlin, July 1992. Bib, recorded at two performances from that event, came out another ten years later. It contains two medium-length improvisations (in the 12-14-minute range) and six shorter ones, all well recorded, although the bass sounds a bit distant and thin. The narrow spot it occupies in the stereo image contrasts sharply with Sommer's arsenal: drum kit, marimba, gongs, tubular bells, and a number of handheld instruments and junk. He is the prime mover in this session, his energy and acute listening pushing the other two constantly. His versatile playing is marvelously showcased in "Von Dakinis und Anderen Göttinnen." "Jimmi's Ghost" features Kassap playing two instruments at once, a usually flashy trick here put to good use. Throughout, the trio alternates between moments of "pure" free improv and instant grooves and melodies. The integration of both approaches comes naturally, making Bib a light and compelling listen. Nevertheless, this is not a fantastic album -- good but not great considering Sommer's other recordings from the same period. But that was no reason to keep these tapes in the vault for a decade.

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