Doppelmoppel

Reflections

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    8
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AllMusic Review by

The pairing of trombonists Conrad and Johannes Bauer in improvisation with guitarists Joe Sachse and Uwe Kropinski in a band with a silly name, and for the purpose of this tremendously exciting and elegantly tasteful six-part suite is, at first glance, a weird mix. Those interested in the juxtaposition of tonalities would think such a quartet disastrous (though Derek Bailey and George Lewis did a few wonderful duets together in the 1970s), with the brass instruments dominating the timbral palette and the guitars being forced to exert sheer volume in order to be held accountable as present. Thankfully, this is not the case here. "Reflections" is an intricate, wide-ranging suite based on the interrelationships of two distinct communities coming together and reasoning out a very sophisticated and complex set of musical problems. The idea of how the architectural framework will be developed is answered in the first section as the pairs trade a series of previously arrived at tropes, in varying pitches and meters, and then taking them apart systematically through improvisation. In sections two, three, and four, improvisation itself is called into question and deconstructed not according to idea, but its physical and emotional transference from one player to another. Segment five is an honest attempt to integrate the separate elements from the last three sections as new melodic and harmonic possibilities, and finally, section six, in eight short minutes, examines all the timbral possibilities from these new constructs and brings them into a harmonic invention that works consonantly. The most beautiful thing about the entire "Reflections" suite is that it works seamlessly, folding and unmasking and refolding with spot-on common sense, a wicked feeling for edgy adventure and a populist's dream of creating a music that is not only artistically satisfying, it's even recognizably accessible. It's a given that the last term will depend on the listener, but it's a laudable ambition. In all, this is as fine a work of free jazz/improv as one is likely to find -- full of wonder, surprise, and passionate execution.

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