CD Statements en México
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Both concerts: German Bringas – soprano/tenor saxophones and trumpet, Francisco Bringas – tabla, Ursel Schlicht – piano, Hans Tammen – endangered guitar.
Experimental Concert: Walter Schmidt – bassguitar, Salvador Cruz – acoustic guitar, Mario de Vega – sampler, Marcos Miranda – clarinet, Carlos Castillo – guitar, Carlos Bonequi – drums
Free Jazz Concert: Raúl Aranda – altosax, Remi Álvarez – baritone sax, Alejandro Sánchez -violin, Aron Cruz – bass, Roberto Aymez – bass, Miguel Rodriguez – bass, Hernán Hetch – drums
- Alvarez – baritone sax, Aranda – altosax, HT
- Aymes – bass, Hetch – drums, German Bringas – soprano sax, US/HT
- Sánchez – violin, Hetch – drums, HT
- Salvador Cruz – guitar, Miranda – alto clarinet, Schmidt – bassguitar, US
- de Vega – sampler, Francisco Bringas – tabla, US/HT
- Arón Cruz – bass, Aymes – bass, Alvárez – baritone sax, Aranda – alto sax, German Bringas – tenor sax
- de Vega – sampler, HT [hear audio above]
- Sánchez – violin, Álvarez – baritone sax, Rodriguez – bass, US
- STATEMENTS: US/HT
- Bonequi – drums, German Bringas – soprano sax, US/HT
- Castillo – guitar, de Vega – sampler, Francisco Bringas – tabla, HT
- Miranda – soprano sax, German Bringas – soprano sax, HT
- Aranda – altosax, Álvarez – baritone sax, Sánchez -violin, Aron Cruz – bass, Aymez – bass, Rodriguez – bass, Hetch – drums, German Bringas – sax/trumpet, US/HT
- Schmidt – bassguitar, Salvador Cruz – acoustic guitar, de Vega – sampler, Miranda – clarinet, Castillo – guitar, Bonequi – drums, Francisco Bringas – tabla, German Bringas – soprano sax, US/HT
Ken Waxman – Jazzword.com
Gatherings of old friends and new acquaintances, parties, if organized properly, can sometimes result in unique insights along with the good times…
A more formal affair… subtitled First International Encounter of Free Improvisers grew out of a series of five concerts and a workshop in Mexico City in 2000. The idea was to create mix and match ensembles from among the capital’s most experimental free jazzers and pure improvisers — yes they exist there too. The “international” categorization came about when the locals were joined on some tunes by the German-born, New York-based Statements duo — Hans Tammen on so-called endangered guitar and Ursel Schlicht on piano…
With 14 tracks packed into more than 73 minutes, the Free Improvisers party down Mexico way also allows every musician to participating in some way. Although… a brass free zone — except for the odd interjection from the trumpet of organizer German Bringàs, who more often plays soprano or tenor saxophone — a plethora of other instruments make their appearance.
Most free jazzy of the tracks is “Riesgo 13”, also the longest at more than 12 minutes. With the overblowing and multiphonics of Bringàs on tenor saxophone, Raúl Aranda on alto saxophone and Remi Álvarez on baritone saxophone — not to mention the triple basses of Aron Cruz, Roberto Aymez and Miguel Rodriguez — what results is ASCENSION/MACHINE GUN textures.
Starting off with what sounds like the ringing of an alarm clock bell, rolling percussion from Hernán Hetch continues throughout, with Bringàs’ reed smears and snorts making the first impression. Soon high-intensity Cecil Taylor-like pianisms from Schlicht are vying for sonic space with bass guitar thumb taps and Alejandro Sánchez’s wiggling, Billy Bang-type fiddle scratches. Pulsating unison tones, high-pitched violin glissandos and a pumping pedal-point bottom from Álvarez’s baritone bring the piece to a crescendo.
Mostly different personnel in another tentet make the final, barely four minute track another screaming free-for-all, although the distorted guitar picking from Tammen, Carlos Castillo and Salvador Cruz create a different texture and bring up memories of one of those Eugene Chadbourne-led electric avant-folk blow outs.
More importantly, the unjustly unknown-north-of-the-Rio-Grande Mexicans acquit themselves admirably in small groupings as well. “Riesgo 4”, for instance, finds the pianist playing cross handed tremolos and chords met by a continuous glissando from alto clarinetist Marcos Miranda. Meanwhile Walter Schmidt on bass guitar and Cruz scratch away with a combination of bottleneck slides and what sounds like the pressing heavy objects on the strings.
A quartet of the Statements duo, Bringàs on soprano sax and drummer Carlos Bonequi finds the four in EuroImprov territory on “Riesgo 10” with the tune based around short, left-handed fantasias from the pianist, splayed distorted fingering from the guitarist and stroked percussion lines. Meanwhile the reedist interrupts with flutter tonguing and irregular vibrations, then with quacking and honking that get more repetitive, but mellifluous at the same time. Finally Bringàs evokes closure with dog whistle squeals.
Featuring just Tammen, Aranda and Álvarez, “Riesgo 1” finds the guitarist supplying the continuum with electronic buzzes and e-bow torquing, while the reedists produce droning, over-miked curls that move from tongue slaps to alp horn yodels. “Riesgo 12” with Bringàs and Miranda joining the guitarist finds the German-American exploring the sound field available from his axe neck and behind the bridge until he creates buzzing, shorting and modulating feedback tones. One reedman plays straight lines, while the other overblows so much so that at points a dense bagpipe timbre is created and at others shrill, but melodic tones echo back and forth from one to the other.
In a more modern vein, Mario de Vega’s sampler faces off against Tammen’s electro-impulses on “Riesgo 7” to create tones that appear to be a combination of Star Wars and seashore explorations. Between the growls, sine wave movements and electronically tinged static, the plectrumist uses quick, pinprick flat-picking to make space for himself among video game noises that crash, bang and aurally explode.
More universal than Mexican, the only geographical musical references appears on “Riesgo 5”, which adds Schlicht and Francisco Bringàs on tabla to the guitar/sampler duo. Here what appears to be pealed bells, scraped guitar strings and powerful piano pressure syncopate forward in ringing octaves to makes short work of some sampled, whiny Tejano tunes.
STATEMENTS also features memorable clavichord-like dampened action solos from the pianist and industrial strength responses from the guitarist in duo. Besides being a disc which features two musicians who record too infrequently, singly or together, the main reason to investigate this session is to familiarize yourself with the flourishing talents of some Mexican improvisers. [It] shows that first-class thinkers and players don’t stop at the United States’ southern border.