Franz Koglmann

Don't Play, Just Be

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AllMusic Review by

Nobody bends genres like Franz Koglmann: He is the King of Fusion, the Master of Mix, and the Wonder of Cross-Tastes. Rules are discarded and new ones articulated. Sometimes it works spectacularly and at others it is at the very least a fascinating curiosity. Two primary suites constitute this recording: The first four tracks are part of "Don't Play, Just Be," and are performed by quartet and chamber orchestra, while the following four are part of "Späte Liebe," based on words of the Austrian poet Franz Schuh and written for soprano, quartet, and chamber orchestra. The final number, "Entre Chien et Loup," originally a duet for trumpet and bass, is played by a quartet, presumably the same one that contributes to the earlier pieces. The sounds incorporate Koglmann's patented effeminate tone, a throwback to the 1950s or earlier, while his operatic compositions merge seemingly disparate elements in a mélange of styles. "Nuit Blanche" ends abruptly, but most of the pieces evolve logically. Classical music, rock, funk, jazz, free improvisation, and pop are all there, and it is to Koglmann's credit that it never devolves to mere pastiche. In addition to Koglmann, the soloists include several longtime Koglmann collaborators, including clarinetist/tenor saxophonist Tony Coe, guitarist James Emery, and bassist Peter Herbert.

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