2024, CD ezz-thetics Hat Hut Records 1050 // 5 tracks // 59:16
Musicians Christoph Gallio soprano, alto & C-merlody / Dominic Lash double bass / Mark Sanders drums & percussion // Production notes All compositions by Christoph / Lash / Sanders // Recorded 18 December 2022 at Cafe Oto in London by Billy Steiger // Mixed by Felix Wolf // Mastered by Michael Brändli at Hard Studios in Winterthur // Liner notes by Andy Hamilton // Produced by Christoph Gallio / Werner X Uehlinger // Graphic design by fuhrer vienna // Cover art by Eric Hattan

Samples

You can download single tracks from bandcamp

Wildlife part 1Wildlife part 1
Wildlife part 2Wildlife part 2
Wildlife part 3Wildlife part 3

Cover Notes

by Andy Hamilton, Durham UK

I’ve been listening to Christoph Gallio and the various incarnations of DAY & TAXI for over three decades – almost since its inception. On this album, however, the Swiss saxophonist makes a debut with a different trio, featuring British improvisers Dominic Lash and Mark Sanders. The result is pungent, powerful music on the cusp of free jazz and free improv – a dichotomy that helps define Gallio’s work, though he also composes. Listening to this wonderful album invites re-consideration of the rhythmic complex- ities and subtleties of free jazz, which may now be in a „common practice“ era after nearly sixty years of development.
New Grove defines free jazz in terms of its rejection of tonality and predetermined chord sequences, its vocalised timbres rather than cool sounds, and its free rubato as opposed to swing groove. How- ever, „free jazz“ is a continuum, I’d argue. We can distinguish the following styles:
(1) Modal jazz, pioneered by Miles Davis in Kind of Blue, reacted against to the rapid chord-changes of bebop, which culminated in John Coltrane’s Giant Steps from the same year. Modal players were meant to improvised on scales or modes rather than chords – this was avantgarde, but not yet „free jazz“.
(2) Time no changes describes the groove-based playing of Ornette Coleman’s quartets, and Miles Davis’s second quintet at its freest. Coleman’s work is often modal, but freer than modal jazz, avoiding 32-bar structures.
(3) Pulse no metre is the canonical free jazz style – often ecstatic, its advocates were Cecil Taylor, Albert Ayler, late Coltrane (1965-7), and sometimes Ornette Coleman. Rather than four-in-the-bar swing or groove, there’s a feeling of tumbling momentum that’s a kind of residual swing – sometimes, as on the present album, more groove-like than others. There’s also a cooler, more lyrical free jazz pioneered by Tristano, Konitz and Marsh, and exemplified by Bley and Giuffre.
(4) Free improv is a later, initially European development that excludes the residues of jazz and swing found in free jazz.
Gallio’s new album is closest to (3), but draws on (4). Like the work of the best free players, its rhythmic spectrum ranges from swing groove to tumbling momentum, moving between these different feels.
The nature of swing has been debated in every era of jazz, from „sweet versus hot“ in the 1930s onwards. „Does Brubeck swing?“ was a favourite question that failed to recognise swing’s many varieties; Sun Ra could produce an inept swing that was a put-on or provocation. New Grove defines swing as „a feeling of forward motion or momentum, often accompanied by a propensity to embody the music in some form of rhythmic movement.“ It usually results from a combination of characteristics of musical pulse: „how [it] is divided, phras- ing, and articulation... there are different degrees and kinds...depending on the interplay of these characteristics.“ For instance, musicians accent offbeats by placing them at salient points in the melodic phrase, such as the last note.
A useful concept is that rhythm is felt in a circle. As Brian Priestley explains in his biography, this is what Charles Mingus wanted his bands to create. Some musicians play on the front of the beat, pushing it to create an edgy effect: Jackie McLean, Art Taylor. There are those who play on the back of the beat, giving a laid-back feel (Elvin Jones, Art Ensemble of Chicago, Dexter Gordon, Billie Holiday); and finally those who play in the centre, „deep in the pocket“ (Mingus himself, with Tal Farlow and Red Norvo; Dave Holland, Art Blakey). But it would be crude to generalise, for these micro-rhythmic variations can occur within a single album or performance.
Theorists have characterised symmetrical eighth notes (swing eighth notes) as a tied triplet feel, with first and third notes played. More broadly, though, „jazzing“ simply means „messing with something“, as in „jazzing the classics“. Tied triplets are perhaps a development of Baroque notes inégales – a thesis that might be approved by musicologist Peter van der Merwe, whose groundbreaking Origins of the Popular Style interprets the blues as an international phenomenon. International or not, the geographical element reflects a music-language connection. Historically, jazz musicians of Chicago, New Orleans and the East and West Coasts each had a different feel to their swing; indeed one could argue that American and Irish speech, for instance, have an intrinsic swing or lilt. There is a classical comparison here. Different countries have different cultures of classical music, and their approach to rhythm will vary. In Italy, for example, the timing is distinctively different.
In fact the „tied triplet“ ratio varies according to tempo, instrument, individual style, phrasing and group chemistry. As Newcastle-based guitarist and teacher Mick Wright comments, „What we call ‚tied triplet‘ or ‚jazz swing feel‘ is a tempo-related sliding scale, from equal pairs of quavers played 50:50 at the highest tempos, to unequal pairs when tempos are less breakneck.“ Tied triplets are in a ratio 2/3:1/3, dotted quavers are 75:25. Of course, he adds, „only machines play as mechanically as that.“
Hiphop producer J Dilla, on his influential album Donuts, uses drum machines with a slightly weird beat to „jazz“ RnB samples. Dan Charnas describes how Dilla „turned what one generation deemed musical error into what the next knew to be musical innovation“. That’s what I call an aesthetics of imperfection – a joyful embracing of artistic con- tingencies. It’s exemplified here by the work of Gallio, Lash and Sanders – but that issue must remain material for another occasion.

Reviews

JAZZ JOURNAL (UK), MATTHEW WRIGHT

Improvising sax, bass and percussion trio reminds of both Ayler and Webster as it drives, disintegrates and reassembles.

Recorded live at Dalston’s Cafe Oto, home of improvised music and performance, this sees stalwarts Dominic Lash and Mark Sanders with Swiss saxophonist Christoph Gallio. In his sleeve notes, Andy Hamilton makes the good point that 60 years of development in free jazz has meant that its rhythmic complexities and subtleties are now seen as common practice.

Although the music avoids accepted structures, Gallio plays with a formality, a pulse running through provided by the percussive pyrotechnics of Sanders and more noticeably Lash, whose bass provides much of its feeling of swing. Gallio continually presses forward, often raw and intense, carving out figures and using riffs and motifs, however coarse and harsh they appear, with an Aylerish vibrato swagger.

The collective passages are balanced and unified, moves anticipated before the music flies off at tangents. Gallio gives way and sits out at times, enabling Sanders and Lash to work together, the bass casting dark shadows over Sanders’ percussive touches, scrapes and descents into hollow voids. The music is dismantled before being reassembled and relaunched with ferocious propulsion.

The titles characterise the music to a certain degree: it’s into the poultry house for the fragmented stutters of Wildlife Part 3; hens cluck and geese honk as we enter an extended serenity before the mechanisation reasserts itself. Ben Webster walks into the room in Homelife, a calm stability hanging heavy and permanent in the air. Sanders’ reassuring tom-toms and drum rolls signal a gear change; Lash’s bowed energy gives way to a clock-ticking bass, restoring a sense of decorum.

This recording captures the spirit of a compelling live set, as one passage segues into another with collective vigour, tension, anticipation and tangential flights.

FREISTIL, WOLFGANG SUSCHNIG

Im Dezember 2022 zelebrierten Christoph Gallio, Dominic Lash & Mark Sanders Live At Cafe Oto London eine beeindruckende Adventsfeier. Wie viele Kerzen am Kranz angezündet wurden, lässt sich nicht ermitteln. Gallio, Lash und Sanders spielen, als ob sie seit Jahrzehnten zusammenarbeiten. Dabei soll das ihr erster gemeinsamer (öffentlicher) Auftritt gewesen sein. Der Mitschnitt setzt sich aus zwei Blöcken zusammmen, Wildlife und Homelofe, diese wiederum aus zwei bzw. drei Teilen. Gallio spielt Sopran-, Alt- und C-Melody-Saxofon, Lash eien wahrhaft mächtigen Kontrabass. Und Sanders ist bekanntlich auch kein Waserl. Selten war in letzter Zeit ein Trio zu hören, in dem alle Beteiligten auf äusserst hohem Niveau so gleichberechtigt miteinander improvisieren. Eine Sternstunde, sagt man wohl. Der Komet war nicht mehr weit.

FREEJAZZBLOG.ORG, NICK OSTRUM

Recorded live December 18, 2022, Live at Café Oto London is one of those live masterpieces. I am sure any night this trio played would be enrapturing. This one, however, just sounds special. It starts with energy. Christoph Gallio barks fat alto lines (evoking Brötzmann and late Coltrane albeit on a different horn) over the churning thrum that drummer Mark Sanders and bassist Dominic Lash lay beneath him, steeped in the free improv tradition that implies rhythm but only by abandoning it for sound on sound on sound. Then, space opens and things get really abstract. (Lash, for his part, has had one foot in minimalism as long as he has had one in free jazz.) The trio then lets this opening ride for a bit, adding some embellishing scrapes and rummaging, as Sanders and Lash take over.

Gallio rejoins, or at least steps to the front, in the second track, 'Wildlife-Part 2,' a continuation rather than clean break from 'Wildlife – Part 1.'  The energy and pluck are still there, though Gallio extends his notes just a little longer and Lash switches to arco. Sanders plays a little more quietly, but still with that cluttered clatter. 'Wildlife – Part 3' is the departure. This has more space, and a long droning bass backbone at first, but eventually falls into that the dexterous clunk and angularity that introduces the album. The two parts of Homelife meditate on a soft folky rhythm, harkening back to that Sonny-Rollins-on-a-bridge tradition, but with more haze, distortion and serration. Then, things start to build. Then, they tumble.

Live at Café Oto is exceptional. It is some of the best tensile scorched-earth, time-warp 60s-rooted free improv that I have hear for a long while. This is all the more impressive given the intergenerational line-up, which pulls from a range of aesthetic backgrounds yet coheres around the same gravitational enter. Despite its many detours and divergences over the last half century, that center, that vivacious tradition of harnessing and directing force away from melody, harmony, tonalism, and be-bop plaiting, a style that braces the crag and stumble as a form in itself, is alive and well.

Live at Café Oto London is available as a digital download from Bandcamp and as a CD from choice music stores around the world. Take your pick.

ALL ABOUT JAZZ, JOHN EYLES

Swiss saxophonist Christoph Gallio has been playing with the trio DAY & TAXI for over three decades during which time he has been the only ever-present member, and the trio has released twelve albums. Early in July 2022, Gallio arrived in London at the beginning of a six-month sabbatical stay at the London Atelier of the Kanton Aargau. This was not a new experience as he had previously stayed in the Berlin Atelier, in 2009, and in the Buenos Aires Atelier of the City of Baden, in 2017.

It was not long before Gallio was blending into the London improv scene. Soon after his arrival, he was invited by percussionist Roger Turner to play at The Vortex jazz venue in a memorial concert for the late great saxophonist Lol Coxhill who had passed away a decade before. Following the Vortex gig, Gallio and Turner started to regularly play together as a duo in Turner's cellar, eventually leading to a duo album.

In December 2022, as he was nearing the end of his sabbatical, Gallio played a gig at another London venue, Café Oto, accompanied by the renowned pairing of Dominic Lash on bass and Mark Sanders on drums and percussion. Gallio himself alternated between alto, soprano and c-melody saxophones. True to form, Gallio's playing ("soloing" would not do it justice) straddled the boundary between free jazz and free improvisation, sounding melodic and controlled throughout, even when roaming free. Lash and Sanders did not play like a conventional rhythm section but, although being supportive, were just as inventive and free-flowing as Gallio. Although the opening track "Wildlife" is listed as being in three parts and "Homelife" as being in two parts, in fact the five tracks follow-on seamlessly and naturally, without any audience sounds audible between them until the very end when prolonged audience applause rings out along with cheers and whoops of delight. Very fitting... ****

JAZZ N'MORE, PIRMIN BOSSART

Mit seinem Trio DAY & TAXI – 1989 mit Urs Blöch- linger als Quartett gegründet – hat Christoph Gallio eine über 30-jährige Praxis in der Durchdringung von Komposition und Improvisation entwickelt. Dabei arbeitet der in Baden wirkende Saxophonist und Komponist oft in Miniaturen und schnellen Schnitten, mit thematischen An- gelpunkten aus bildender Kunst und Poesie. Auf dem vorliegenden Album ist Gallio dort, wofür sein Herz sowieso immer schlägt. Free Jazz und freie Improvisation. Ungebunden und dennoch strukturiert mäandert Christoph Gallio in diesem einstündigen Live-Set durch seine wilden Gesänge. Seine Partner sind Dominic Lash und Mark Sanders aus der Londoner Szene. Aufgenommen wurde das Live-Album im Café Oto, wo sich die Weltklasse der avantgardistischen und freien Szene trifft. Das furiose Spiel von Gallio lässt immer wieder das ekstatische Moment von Ayler und das energetische Modulieren von Ornette Coleman aufblitzen. Sein Ton ist ungeschliffen, rau, sein Spiel so anarchisch wie diszipliniert, alles soll möglich, aber nichts belanglos sein. Das Set ist gegliedert in zwei lange Tracks ”Wildlife” und ”Homelife” mit je verschiedenen Parts, die nahtlos ineinandergleiten und den eruptiven Puls des Free Jazz mit den klanglichen Architekturen der freien Improvisation zusammenbringen, wie das hierzulande niemand in dieser Dringlichkeit macht.

KULTURTIPP, Pirmin Bossart

Momentkunst. Ungebunden, doch strukturiert mäandert Christoph Gallio in diesem Live-Set durch seine wilden Gesänge. Der Saxofonist aus Baden wurde mit dem Trio DAY & TAXI und mit Collage-Konzepten bekannt. Im Londoner Trio mit Bassist Dominic Lash und Drummer Mark Sanddrs bewegt er sich nun zwischen vorwärtstreibend-rauhen Schüben und klanglichen Auslotungen und bringt den Puls des Free Jazz und die Momentkunst der freien Improvisation zusammen. four out of five stars

KATHODIK, VITTORIO LO CONTE

Il sassofonista svizzero Christoph Gallio è stato spesso in trio, di recente con Day & Taxi, una formazione in cui ha coinvolto anche il batterista americano Gerry Hemingway, ma anche con musicisti americani, del 1996 è un’incisione insieme a William Parker e Rashied Ali (completata dalla cantante Ellen Christi)  e del 2012 il trio Rosen für Alle con una ritmica tedesca.
Questa volta, al sax contralto, soprano ed al C Melody sax è al Café Oto a Londra, insieme a due musicisti inglesi, Dominic Lash al contrabbasso e Mark Sanders alla batteria.
Il free jazz con loro è vivo e vegeto ed in buona salute, per gli appassionati del genere i tre offrono una performance compatta e sipirata che non perde mai il filo del discorso, guidata da un sassofonista che al sax alto ha fatto sua la lezione di un Roscoe Mitchell e con la sua voce acidula sparge note abrasive che accendono l’atmosfera di Wildlife.
Su  Homelife l’atmosfera si fa più tranquilla, ma senza allontanarsi da quello spirito iriverente che ha caratterizzato la musica improvvisata europea.
I tre non deludono le aspettative del pubblico al concerto, anche su disco sono un bell’ascolto.

Voto 9/10

Aargauer Zeitung, Stefan Künzli

Purzelbäume mit dem Saxofon. Jazz ist heute oft introvertiert und schöntönerisch. Christoph Gallio widersetzt sich standhaft diesem Trend – seit Jahrzehnten. Jüngstes Beispiel des Alt- und Sopransaxofonisten ist ein Livemitschnitt mit den englischen Musikern Dominic Lash (Bass) und Mark Sanders (Drums) im Londoner Café Oto. Ein frei improvisiertes Set und Musterbeispiel an Interaktion. Gallio wirbelt und lässt die Ideen aus seinem Sax purzeln. Energiegeladen, intensiv und wild. five out of five stars

NZZ am Sonntag, MANFRED PAPST

Seine Formation DAY & TAXI zählt – bei wechselnder Besetzung – seit drei Jahrzehnten  zu den stilbildenden Bands im Schweizer Jazz. Nun aber hat sich der Badener Alt- und Sopransaxofonist Christoph Gallio mit zwei britischen Cracks zusammengetan: Mit Dominic Lash am Bass und Mark Sanders am Schlagzeug hat er am 18. Dezember 2022 im Londoner Café Oto ein mitreissendes, frei improvisiretrtes Konzert gegeben. Die Ideen sprudelten nur so aus dem energiegeladenen Musiker, das Interplay begeistert. "Wildlife" und "Homelife" heissen die zwei  Blöcke dieser teilweise stürmichen Sternstunde – nicht nur im Schweizer Jazz. four out of five stars

Bert Noglik, Leipzig

...sehr stark, sehr konsequent, essentiell.

BAD ALCHEMY, RIGOBERT DITTMANN

Die Linernotes sortieren Gallios Spiel mit Alto-, Soprano- & C-Melody-Saxophon bei seinem Clash am 18.12.2022 bei 'Pulse no metre' = 'canonical free jazz' ein, mit einem Einschlag von europäischem, die Reste von Jazz und Swing entsorgendem Free Improv. Das mag bei denen eine Augenbraue hochziehen, die den Schweizer nur in seiner Lacy'esken Coolness und Sophistication mit DAY & TAXI kennen, nicht bei denen, die ihn mit Rosen Für Alle „Live in Zürich“ gehört haben. Sanders jedenfalls hat nicht mit der Wimper gezuckt. Durch Elton Dean und Paul Dunmall, Frank Paul Schubert im Foils Quartet oder in Last Dream In The Morning mit John Butcher ist er mit jeder Art von Saxpower vertraut, und nur sein eigener Körper kann ihn im Stich lassen, wie am 7.10.23 in Weikersheim. Einmal mehr verzahnt er seinen Drumsound mit Lashs Kontrabass. Ihr Zürcher Gast kräht und sprudelt dazu wie das blühende Leben ('Wildlife'), dem Steinschlag von Sanders und Lashs Stupsern und gemurmelten Ratschlägen immer ein Stück voraus. Und klug genug, stumm auf den Weg zu achten, wenn das Gelände seine klippen- und spaltenreich klappernden, kollernden, kratzenden Tücken zeigt. Da die Turbulenzen sich nicht beruhigen, steigt er wieder ein mit mutigen Intervallsprüngen und schneidigem 'Gesang', auch wenn die Berggeister noch so murren und am Lebensfaden nagen. Anders gesagt: Von Gallios feurigem Sturm und Drang geht so mitreißende Lebenslust aus, dass die Naturgewalten sich bei ihm als Ihresgleichen einhenkeln. Sanders kollert als tanzender Kobold, Lash lässt die Saiten schnalzen, knarren, surren, Gallio kläfft und quiekt dazu als verspielte kleine Chimäre, die selber staunt über die von ihr gespaltenen, geraspelten Klänge, aus denen sie kuriosen Singsang trillert, röhrt und spotzt. Daheim ('Homelife') macht eine spuckige Zunge den Dreckspatz seufzend sauber: Was soll aus solchem Kinde werden? Die drei spielen auch diesen erdmütterlichen Blues, mit Ayler'eskem Herzensbrand, in bedrückter Innigkeit, mit den Schicksalsschlägen stupent trotzendem Basswerk, Sanders auf wölfischen Pfoten, Gallio als anarchischer Widersacher der Schwerkraft und mit pyromanischem Tirili. Bravo! [BA 123 rbd]

ORYNX-IMPROV'ANDSOUNDS, JEAN-MICHEL SCHOUWBURG

Le catalogue Ezz-Thetics (ex Hat-Hut, Hat-Art, Hatology) agglutine les sorties, certaines vraiment surprenantes, d’autres compilatoires de glorieux moments du free-jazz ou simplement en nous offrant un réjouissant concert londonien d’un saxophoniste qui tire toujours plus haut que son ombre en compagnie d’un exceptionnel tandem contrebasse – batterie. On ne doit plus faire l’article du batteur Mark Sanders, ni du contrebassiste Dominic Lash, tous deux superlatifs. Mais il faut insister sur la valeur incisive du saxophoniste helvète Christoph Gallio. On nage ici en plein free free-jazz improvisé. Pas de compos, de partoches, rien dans les mains, rien dans les poches. Souffleur allumé, intelligemment expressionniste, ludique, phrasé anguleux, sonorité brûlante, vocalisé et abrasif à souhaits, dérapages contrôlés, un sacré bagage harmonique et des sauts d’intervalles compliqués à maîtrisés dans on souffle aussi fort. Son abattage de bateleur du souffle cracheur de feu, fait s’hérisser le mocassin gauche trépignant de Mark Sanders piétinant sur la pédale de hi-hat, toutes baguettes survoltées alors que les remontadas des doigts fébriles de Dom Lash en travers de la touche du gros violon font vibrer l’air ambiant. Une belle partie de plaisir qu’il faut vivre – contempler sur le vif dans le confort d’écoute du Café Oto pour oublier l’ amenuisement des scènes ouvertes dans le grand Londres (I’Klectic fermé, le rafiot du Boat-Ting coulé, diminution des gig-série et des first floor de pub, par chance Jim Dvorak a rouvert son légendaire Jazz Rumours et il reste Hundred Years Gallery). Heureusement, il nous reste l’espoir et comme dans cet excellent album, on envisage ce qui fait tout le sel de cette scène, le trio nous emmène dans un voyage à travers de nouveaux paysages, d’aspects très variés de l’improvisation collective, du dense complexe à l’aéré subtil, à différents niveaux d’intensités et d’expressivités. On peut alors goûter tout ce dont sont capables ces trois improvisateurs, leurs sens de l’écoute imaginative, de la construction instantanée. La maestria du free drumming de Sanders met le soufflant sur orbite avec un supplément d’audace, d’énergie et de rage de jouer, un lyrisme explosif pressurant la colonne d’air et l’anche rougeoyante du sax soprano. Dom Lash colmate les brèches et rebondit incessamment sur la vibration de ses gros boyaux tendus comme des furies. C’était Wildlife en trois parties de plus de dix minutes chacunes. Avec Homelife part 1 & 2, on démarre ensuite avec une démarche cool hésitante au C melody sax de manière plus introspective avec des growls bien sentis. L’intrication des dialogues se resserrent petit – à petit , les toms soumis aux roulements de timbales africaines…. Une bien belle réussite.

CVECE ZLA I NAOPAKOG, MEHMET KRLJIC

Slušanje albuma Christoph Gallio, Dominic Lash, Mark Sanders: Live At Cafe Oto London dovelo me je onoliko blizu raja koliko mi moja sekularna priroda dopušta. OK, OK, radi se samo o dobrom albumu uzvitlanog free jazza i slobodne improvizacije koji samo stvari koje slušamo već decenijama radi sa puno autoriteta, energije i posvećenosti, dakle, nije u pitanju nekakvo otvaranje novih horizonata, ali ovo JESTE jedan odlično snimljen živi nastup neprekinute improvizacije u trajanju od skoro sat vremena gde ljudi u sedmoj deceniji života bljuju vatru i sa osmehom pucaju rafalno kao da je i dalje 1966. godina a revolucije, pa između njih i free jazz revolucija, treba da promene svet.

Etiketa Hat Hut Records u svom svojim taksonomijskim permutacijama, postoji, sa prekidima evo bezmalo pola veka i bezbedno je reći da je svako njihovo izdanje vredno makar pažnje a da su mnoga vredna obožavanja. Švajcarski producent i entuzijast američkog free jazza i avangarde generalno, Werner Xavier Uehlinger je ovaj izdavački poduhvat startovao 1975. godine da bi imao platformu koja će izdavati muziku Joea McPheeja – i prva četiri albuma su i bila isključivo McPheejeva muzika – da bi tokom narednih decenija izgradio katalog titanskih razmera i po kvantitetu i po kvalitetu, pružajući svetu priliku da čuje najbolje iz domena avangardnog džeza, savremene klasične muzike i slobodne improvizacije. Distinktan vizuelni dizajn njihovih izdanja mi pomaže da diskove pronađem na polici sa neobičnom lakoćom kada su mi potrebni a otkada je etiketa u punoj meri prigrlila Bandcamp kao distributivnu platformu,  bezbedno je reći da nas Hat Hut zasipa izuzetnom muzikom u meri koju je skoro nemoguće prehvaliti.

Naravno, mnogo toga odnosi se na nova izdanja starih snimaka, ali „Now-ezz-thetics“ je poseban napor u okviru Ezz-Thetics serijala ovog izdavača da slušaocima predstavi novu muziku koju izvode savremeni izvođači. Opet, nešto od toga je zagledano i u tradiciju – prethodni album koji je izašao za Now-ezz-thetics predstavlja kompozicije Mortona Feldmana napisane u posveti Johnu Cageu, ali radi se o novim izvođenjima i svežim snimcima. No, sa albumom koji danas slušamo nema nikakve dvomisli: ovo je free jazz nastao u trenutku izvođenja, konkretno 18. Decembra 2022. godine u Londonu, dovučen pred slušaoca čvrstim stikom za vrat dok se koprcao da pobegne, vrisne, popne se na obližnji plot i iz sveg glasa zakukuriče. Zvučaće kao tipična izjava starog, ogorčenog čoveka, ali slušajući Live At Cafe Oto London ne jednom sam pomislio kako ova ekipa itekako ima čemu da nauči mlade muzičare koji se upuštaju u nesigurne brzake slobodne improvizacije i free jazza.

 

Dobro, bubnjar Mark Sanders, a koji je, ako su takvi termini uopšte prikladni za muziku-sa-margine, najveća zvezda ovog trija, je i formalno edukator. Veteran free jazza, savremene klasike i improvizacije, Sanders je predavač na Muzičkom koledžu Lids i gostujući predavač na Kraljevskoj muzičkoj akademiji u Londonu. Pričamo o čoveku sa neizmerno velikim iskustvom, jednoj od stožernih ličnosti britanske slobodne improvizacije i avangarde generalno, sa saradnjom sa svim bitnim britanskim muzičarima ove scene (Evan Parker, John Butcher, Derek Bailey, Jah Wobble, John Edwards…) a onda i sa velikom kilometražom sviranja sa američkim muzičarima najjačeg kalibra: John Zorn, Christian Marclay, Roscoe Mitchell, Wadada Leo Smith, Henry Grimes, Roswell Rudd, Okkyung Lee, Barry Guy, Charles Gayle, Peter Evans, Trevor Watts, William Parker, Nate Wooley, Ivo Perelman (koji je, dobro, Brazilac), Nicole Mitchell…

Kontrabas ovde svira Dominic Lash, takođe Britanac i takođe univerzitetski predavač. Lash je što se muzike tiče glavna osovina kolektiva Oxford Improvisers a, u svojoj drugoj životnoj ulozi, ugledan teoretičar filma sa dve objavljene knjige i karijerom predavča na univerzitetima u Bristolu, Redingu i Oksfordu. Rođen 1980. godine, Lash je dve decenije mlađi od ostala dva muzičara u ovom triju ali to ga svakako nije omelo da pruži vatrometan preformans. Uostalom, Lash je do sada već svirao sa mnogo vrsnih imena (Steve Noble, Tony Conrad, John Butcher, Evan Parker, Joe Moris, Tony Buck) a kuriozitet je i da je u bliskom srodstvu sa Ralphom i Josephom Fiennesom, pa ako TO ne donese ovom albumu malo glamura, ne znam šta će.

 

Saksofonista je ovde ono što ćete prvo čuti a radi se o švajcarskom muzičaru rođenom 1957. godine, po imenu Christoph Gallio i sa istorijom studiranja klasičnog saksofona u Bazelu ali i pod Steveom Laceyjem u Parizu. Gallio je na kraju u Cirihu magistrirao „transdisciplinarne umetnosti“ i njegova akademska karijera još traje – krajem prošle godine dovršio je polugodišnji stipendirani studijski rad u Londonu koga je ovaj nastup na neki način bio kruna. No, Gallio ima veoma jake i duge veze sa britanskom scenom, svirajući sa London Improvisers Orchestra, a pored toga već dadeset godina predvodi i svoj švajcarski trio Day & Taxi (u kome bubnjeve svira Gerry Hemingway) i stiže da svira sa reprezentacijom vrsnih svetskih imena (recimo: Irene Schweizer, Rashied Ali, Fred Frith, Phil Minton, William Parker, Peter Kowald, Sven-Åke Johansson, Olaf Rupp…). Gallio i piše dosta muzike a ima i sopstvenu izdavačku etikeru Perasco koja postoji već 37 godina, pa se radi o čoveku u potpunosti posvećenom muzici.

I, čim ovaj trio grune u svoje instrumente, čujete da se radi o ljudima koji decenijama žive ovaj zvuk. Gallio u svojoj biografiji navodi da je u svoje vreme nastupao sa „plesačima i zlatnom ribicom“ i mada ostala dva muzičara u ovom triju proizvode znatno više buke nego plesači ili zlatna ribica (čak i ako je u pitanju izuzetno ekstrovertna zlatna ribica), Gallio bez ikakve zadrške surfuje na cunamiju zvuka i odozgo prosipa usijane kaskade tonova.

Gallio svira alt, sopran i C-melody saksofon, dakle posebnu varijantu tenor saksofona čiji je osnovni ton čitav stepen iznad „normalnog“ tenor saksofona, izum Adolpha Saxa namenjen pre svega orkestarskoj svirci i, nakon perioda u ranom dvadesetom stoleću kada je ovo bio relativno raširen instrument, danas vrlo retko viđanu.

No, Gallio ga svira šampionski, prikazujući sav fridžezerski vatromet koji već duže od pedeset godina podrazumevamo kod tenorista koji sviraju ovu muziku, ali uz ton koji je viši, prodorniji, malo i nestašniji. Uprkos višem registru, Gallio ima fin bluz preliv u svojoj svirci a koji uspeva da se probije između njegovih brzih, energičnih pirueta i ukorenjuje muziku trija u tradiciji taman toliko da bude jasno kako ovi ljudi grade na temeljima udarenim još u šezdesetima, kada su Ornette Coleman i drugovi oslobađali džez i lansirali ga u svemir.

Svakako ima nečeg ornetkolmenovkog u zvuku ovog trija sa vrlo „ravnom“ hijerarhijskom strukturom gde ne postoji lider i svaki od muzičara je podjednako odgovoran za sudbinu muzike. Naravno, pričamo o tri vrsna majstora improvizacije i odgovornost za slušanje ali i sviranje je ovde na visokom nivou. Gallio je, sa prodornim zvukom svojih instrumenata i energičnom, atraktivnom tehnikom ono gde će vaša pažnja biti prvo smerena, ali on ne predvodi ovaj sastav ništa više nego što ga predvodi Sanders sa svojom kišom udaraca i kompleksnih poliritmova, ili Lash koji na bebop kontrabas kao da je prikačio par raketnih motora.

Improvizacija od sat vremena bi možda bila dosadna da nema dinamičke i druge varijacije pa tako i ovde posle urnebesnog free jazz početka sastav uredno smenjuje apstraktnije, neidiomatske momente improvizovanja sa tradicionalnijim džez zvukom. No, ono što se mora primetiti je kako to ovde prirodno zvuči. U najtvrdokornijoj ornetkolmenovskoj tradiciji, ovde nema stvarnih tema i Gallio ne dopušta svojim melodijama da se solidifikuju u nešto što bi podsećalo na klasične hedove, ali čuje se jasna razlika između momenata kada on svira u prepoznatljivim harmonijama i momenata kada se ulazi u dekonstrukciju zvuka. Dvojica Britanaca u takvim delovima često preuzimaju primat, pogotovo Sanders koji beskrajno lako iz prepoznatljivog ritma uleće u rad sa teksturama i šumovima, ali ni Lash ne zaostaje sa pažljivim radom gudalom. Kada i Sanders gudalom napadne činele, a onda se Gallio uključi visokim, pištavim tonovima, bend zvuči, dobro, ne baš PROVOKATIVNO, ali dovoljno distancirano od bilo kog idioma da bi spontani povratak u hiperkinetički hard(core)bop zvučao onako revolucionarno kako mnogi muzičari pokušavaju ali mali broj njih uspeva. Ovo je posebno upečatljiv momenat u finalu prvog dela koncerta (Wildlife – Part 3) gde posle mirnijeg, meditativnijeg plutanja u teksturama i apstraktnoj atmosferi trio upada u tako brz, tako agresivan free jazz da imate utisak da se bina trese a instrumenti sa nje padaju.

To da trio i posle takvog momenat u sebi ima inspiracije, snage i duha da odradi još više od dvadeset minuta izvrsne svirke je svedočanstvo o kvalitetu ovih muzičara i njihovoj totalnoj usredsređenosti na ovde i sada kada je improvizacija u pitanju. Nema tu kalkulisanja sa vremenom, sviranja obaveznih formi niti posezanja za oprobanim tehnikama, svira se pošteno, punim srcem, pa ko izdrži duže. Izvrsno: