Friedemann Graef


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Here are a pair of German saxophonists that understand the most elementary nuances of composing and playing together: there is no single dominant voice in any piece of music; all ensembles, no matter the size, exist because of balance. Graef and Goettert are players who are comfortable with each other in virtually any setting they choose: both are composers and improvisers of the highest degree, and are each highly adaptable given their diverse musical backgrounds. The two compositions here, "Sweet Soil Suite" by Graef and "Suite Zengo 19" by Goettert, are both multipart works where saxophones are played and exchanged throughout with compositionally structured frameworks that allow for many, many surprises along the way. In Graef's work (he's always in the left channel), there is dialogue in the form of call and response, free playing with simultaneously unfolding lines replete with ostinati, minimalist intertwining and repetition, and harmonic canon techniques. The humor and structure are firmly in the jazz idiom, from Gershwin to Monk, but also echo Bartok and swing blues. Goettert's work (he's always in the right channel) is more formalist, but also relies more on chance and the improvisational methodology of the current European school. Again, with his reliance on the above strategies, as well as the simulation of a rhythm section, swing and pulse generating accents with syncopated and sporadic meter concerns with accompanying melodic lines, his compositional heart lies firmly in the jazz camp -- though it's a crime for the Europeans to admit this these days, since it is somehow selling out the whiteness of their heritage. By the bottom line is this: with the deep blues at the core of these compositions, and the expert carrying out of their expression, no matter the means used to do so, this pair are jazzers and these are jazz suites in the same way Ellington's were -- just sparser, that's all. Despite their own and the liner note writer's pretensions, Saxoridoo is a hell of a jazz saxophone record. The music is complex, full of mystery, surprise, and humor. It is a delight to listen to, and one can even be awed by it on occasion -- why do you think we call it jazz?

Track Listing

Sample Title/Composer Performer Time
1 6:40
2 5:25
3 5:05
4 3:47
5 5:17
6 0:46
7 3:38
8 1:00
9 3:05
10 4:38
11 3:42
12 3:03
13 3:49
14 1:08
15 2:44
16 4:28
17 3:58
18 2:59
19 1:50
20 4:43
21 0:33
blue highlight denotes track pick