Michel Wintsch


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This juggernaut of jazz and new music compositions by pianist Michel Wintsch (with the exception of the last four tracks, which are group improvisations) is a revelation of fresh ideas and new harmonic approaches to the combining of jazz improvisation and classical, particularly of the Second Viennese School model-modalities. Wintsch creates mini-epics in his writing ("Access," "Onze Rire," "Sang de Vivaldo"), where tonal and timbral balances are offered up as pillars in an entirely new harmonic and rhythmic conception of chromatic integration. Wintsch is an arpeggiatic player, though he tends to favor slower tempos and spacious reaches from low to middle register in his intervals, and Schütz is the perfect counterpart with his long, sonorous, and even droning lines, filling space and keeping constants while moving modes around at will. Finally, in Hemingway he has the most adaptable and forward-thinking drummer on the planet when it comes to this kind of cultural miscegenation. Hemingway's sense of rhythm is that all time is beat-conscious; all time is relative and it exists not in a continuum of space, but in a continuum of place. Hence, these pieces begin sometimes maniacally, sometimes slowly and mournfully, and open out onto other branches of the metalinguistic tree of harmonic invention. The final four works, which are group improvisations are full of fire and abandon, with fiery rimshots and accents from Hemingway and searing arco work from Schütz to act in counterpart with and lay counterpoint to Wintsch's gloriously precise legato phrasing. This is a masterpiece of original thought and execution.

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