Duos 2: Europa America Japan

Peter Kowald

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Duos 2: Europa America Japan Review

by François Couture

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 Stream
1 Peter Kowald feat: Evan Parker 04:50 Amazon
2 Peter Kowald feat: Jeanne Lee 04:11 Amazon
3 Peter Kowald feat: Toshinori Kondo 02:52 Amazon
4 Peter Kowald feat: Julius Hemphill 04:03 Amazon
5 Peter Kowald feat: Seizan Matsuda 04:36 Amazon
6 Peter Kowald feat: Diamanda Galás 03:34 Amazon
7 Peter Kowald feat: Conrad Bauer 03:58 Amazon
8 Peter Kowald feat: Lawrence "Butch" Morris 05:10 Amazon
9 Peter Kowald feat: Fred Frith 03:07 Amazon
10 Peter Kowald feat: Masahiko Kono 04:37 Amazon
11 Peter Kowald feat: Andrew Cyrille 04:33 Amazon
12 Peter Kowald feat: Floros Floridis 04:17 Amazon
13 Peter Kowald feat: Satoh Michihiro 03:12 Amazon
14 Peter Kowald feat: Derek Bailey 02:31 Amazon
15 Peter Kowald feat: Marilyn Mazur 05:39 Amazon
16 Peter Kowald feat: Junko Handa 07:00 Amazon
17 Peter Kowald feat: Yoshisaburo Toyozumi 03:28 Amazon
18 Peter Kowald feat: Tom Coro 03:58 Amazon
blue highlight denotes track pick