Frank Gratkowski


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Simply put, Kollaps is one of Frank Gratkowski's finest albums. This CD features the Frank Gratkowski Quartet as it was in May 2000: Wolter Wierbos on trombone, Dieter Manderscheid on bass, and drummer Gerry Hemingway. The saxophonist/clarinetist wrote all of the seven pieces. The style arches back to free jazz forms. "Marsch" puts a twist to the head-solo-head format, adding a funny limping march theme in the middle. "Annaherungen" is a swinging free form number with lots of unisons between trombone and clarinet. "De Profundis" provides a pause. Dark on the verge of depressive, it lingers on sustained and out-of-tune notes. "Scherzo II" is a lot more spirited and makes extensive use of Wierbos' very entertaining style -- it comes close to the music of Jean Derome et les Dangereux Zhoms. "Spiel" ("Game") goes into a similar direction, as the musicians scatter around bits of the main theme for the listener to collect and piece together. Highlights abound, and all four musicians shine, Manderscheid being the surprise here -- we need to hear more from him. The album comes to an end with "Kollaps II," a strong number where rhythm section and lead players go their separate ways at some point, coming back for the powerful finale. Kollaps is a delightful record. Very strongly recommended.

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