Peter Kowald

Duos 2: Europa America Japan

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Prepared by Peter Kowald prior to his death, this CD reissues 18 duets taken from the three Duos LPs released by FMP in the late '80s. Kowald was a man of relationships and the duo will remain the most important playing situation in his oeuvre. The level of exchange he was able to achieve in this context remains extremely inspiring. The tracks on Duos2 were recorded between 1986 and 1990 in various studios, usually on the home ground of the other improviser (be it New York, Tokyo, or Copenhagen). Kowald's bass and signature throat singing are paired with saxophone, trombones, guitars, percusion, and voices, each new track unveiling a little more of the man's distinctive musical personality, as well as his adaptability to any kind of improviser. The set begins with a high-octane duet with Evan Parker, immediately offset by a slow, yearning piece with singer Jeanne Lee. The piece with Toshinori Kondo is the only one introducing electronics and Fred Frith's guitar is the only electrical instrument heard. Each piece is a gem of an improvisation, concise (most tracks remain under the five-minute mark), focused, and highly musical despite the difficult nature of the music. Highlights are numerous and include a stunning duet with Diamanda Galás, a jazzy tune with Lawrence "Butch" Morris, tracks with Parker and Derek Bailey, and the closing number with cellist Tom Cora. This is not yet the career-encompassing collection the late bassist deserves, but factoring in the variety of musicians and the easy-flowing track list (Kowald obviously put a lot of care in his selection), Duos2 makes an excellent entry-level disc for the newcomer and a highly pleasurable addition to the free improvisation enthusiast's collection.

Track Listing

Sample Title/Composer Performer Time
feat: Evan Parker
feat: Jeanne Lee
3 2:52
4 4:03
5 4:36
6 3:34
feat: Conrad Bauer
8 5:10
feat: Fred Frith
10 4:37
11 4:33
12 4:17
13 3:12
feat: Derek Bailey
15 5:39
feat: Junko Handa
17 3:28
feat: Tom Coro
blue highlight denotes track pick