Hans Kumpf

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Harry Tavitian and Hans Kumpf improvised this hour of music together at a Stuttgart venue in the winter of 1984. Two decades later, the music was finally released; in the same way pseudo-scientists credit aliens for Egyptian masterworks, perhaps a theory could be concocted involving unreleased recordings of free improvisation gaining great artistic quality as they sit in storage, like wine coming of age in a cellar. Did anyone actually play this well, without the rest of the world noticing? Harry who? Hans who?

Tavitian, a Romanian, chooses two options for his relationship with Kumpf, a German clarinetist. On piano, a totally sympathetic instrumental relationship is established in which references are freewheeling: modern classical, Balkan music, blues, jazz, and folk have already come up less than ten minutes into the set. When Tavitian switches to his small shepherd's flute, a somewhat stranger dialogue ensues in which the clarinet becomes the meat and potatoes. In either case it is excellent fare, each of the players capable of great range in both emotion and creative stretch. For anyone interested in the clarinet, this is a recording to hear: Kumpf has tons and tons of room to blow, and always seems up to something interesting, including effective accompanying figures.

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