Freedom of Speech

John Schröder

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Freedom of Speech Review

by Thom Jurek

Now this is free jazz. "Free" because each of the instruments here -- John Schröder's guitar and piano, Henrik Walsdorff's alto saxophone, and Uli Jenneßen's drums and percussion instruments -- are liberated from their defined roles as melody, rhythm, and harmony instruments, and are instead placed in open association with one another, granting and taking away privileges which previous roles afforded. This music is jazz because of its use of polyrhythmic, modal, intervalic, and improvisational techniques to create a body of music that finds its way through a piece of music collectively. The use of cadences and harmonic bridges becomes a plank -- a methodological platform for this wildly energetic, lyrical passageway into the previously undiscovered "real." There is a genuine enthusiasm between these three players, whether they are playing the heavily arpeggiated staccato phrases of Schröder's title track suite or the Ornette Coleman-esque harmonies and melodies of "Goody Moody Baby," by Jenneßen, or the relatively lushly crafted "Free Man," by Walsdorff, with its rigorous rhythmic and modal demands. Each player assumes responsibility not only for himself but for the others in the ensemble sections, while marking out a space that he offers as an entrance to the other members of the band to enter into and dialogue with him in improvisation, turning the body of music into an open ground of freely associated, wildly swinging, and joyous free jazz. This is an astonishing date full of energy; raw, unmitigated musical ideas; and the transformation of sound into the language of jazz.

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