Frisque Concordance

Spellings

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Frisque Concordance is the name for a very particular grouping of improvisers under the direction of Georg Graewe. This 1992 show is their second gig in as many years, and all of its improvisations come under the heading of Spellings. The lineup is Graewe on piano, Martin Blume on drums, John Butcher on saxophones, and Hans Schneider on bass. This set typifies a Graewe-led ensemble: slow, appropriately microtonal, and hauntingly strident in its use of empty intervals (fourths, ninths, etc.) in order to draw out his collaborators. Butcher adds his squeaks, sparingly at first, and then reaching for parity with Schneider, who is playing arco before pizzicato in pianississimo! How does this effect Blume? He stutters around creeping with his hands and brushes, whispering along a set pattern of accents before deferring to Graewe who uncorks things a bit and moves the dynamic tension up a notch, then tow before bringing it all back down. About midway through the third track, called "C" appropriately, everyone is playing at once in a low-level striated dance, whispering around the spherical harmonic juxtapositions and contrapuntal figures being laid down by Graewe and Butcher. On "D" Graewe quotes first Herbie Nichols (out of cadence) and then George Shearing and then Lennie Tristano before reworking them all to fit a D minor base for exploration, with only Blume nuttering about with his brushes on the toms and hit hat. It's a gorgeous beginning that inspires everybody else as they enter with pause and great economy of phrase before continuing the dialogue. Spellings was a very auspicious concert; we're lucky to have a recording of it.

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