1026 Dortmund Variations


Audio Excerpt:

In 2012, nuscope released Dortmund Variations with saxophonist Evan Parker and pianist Georg Graewe live from the Domicil in Dortmund, Germany on October 29, 2010.

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According to liner notes writer Bill Shoemaker, “Evan Parker is 12 years older than Georg Graewe. However, there's a countervailing metric, albeit a fanciful one, which places the saxophonist and the pianist in closer historical proximity. It is the FMP catalog.

The Berlin-based label had issued 31 albums over seven years prior to New Movements, the then 20 year-old pianist’s debut, in 1976; Parker played on seven of them, including Peter Brötzmann’s Machine Gun and three Globe Unity Orchestra recordings. Graewe led a new “generation” of improvising musicians into a history-shaping catalog, one comprised of the core documents of first generation European improvisers like Brötzmann and Alexander von Schlippenbach.” This is the second recording by the duo – their first was Unity Variations on the Okka Disk label in 1998.

According to journalist Bill Meyer in his four star review in the January 2013 issue of Downbeat, “The three long pieces on this CD proceed with an effortlessness that belies their complexity. It never feels like one is hanging back and supporting the other; their playing is nimble and unhesitant, advancing in quick flurries and elaborately articulated phrases that fit together marvelously even though the music is entirely improvised. They aren’t anticipating each other’s moves so much as finding out together the depths of their rapport.”

The recording is very different than that of many in the nuscope catalog. First, there are only three pieces (four pieces on the audiophile 24 bit/44.1 download), the longest of which clocks in at just over 37 minutes! However, the improvisations are always exciting and never pedantic or sprawling. This is thrilling live music, and is a great contrast to Parker’s recent duo recordings with pianists Uwe Oberg, Misha Mengelberg, and Agusti Fernandez. Parker focuses on tenor here and Graewe plays a beautiful Bösendorfer Model 225 grand piano. This disc features liner notes from Bill Shoemaker and striking cover art from John Holt Smith.

This fine CD has received airplay on WMSE in Milwaukee; CKUT in Montreal; CKCU and CHOU in Ottawa; CFRU in Guelph; Asheville FM in Asheville, North Carolina; WHFR in Detroit; and WNUR in Chicago.


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