2024, CD ezz-thetics Hat Hut Records 1055 // 6 tracks // 46:00
Musicians Christoph Gallio soprano, alto & C-merlody / Roger Turner drumset & percussion Production notes All compositions by Gallio / Turner // Recorded 14 December 2022 and mixed in London by Darren Clark // Mastered by Michael Brändli at Hard Studios in Winterthur // Liner notes by John Eyles // Produced by Christoph Gallio / Werner X Uehlinger // Graphic design by fuhrer vienna // Cover art by Claudio Moser


You can download single tracks from bandcamp


Cover Notes

by John Eyles, London, UK

Early in July 2022, renowned Swiss saxophonist Christoph Gallio arrived in London at the beginning of a six-month sabbatical stay at the London Atelier of the Swiss Canton of 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. Gallio’s application to stay in London had been selected over all others, maybe because he cited his reason for visiting London as his interest in the underground of the London improvised music scene. Among the items Gallio brought to London were copies of the album Unison Polyphony (ezz-thetics, 2022), the first album by the duo of Gallio and Swiss clarinettist Markus Eichenberger, and Gallio’s first on the label.

It was not long before Gallio was blending into the London improvised music 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. Turner and Coxhill had recorded together as a duo, as well as in the trio The Recedents with guitarist Mike Cooper. Turner and Gallio had history, a few years before having played together in Baden, in a trio with Swiss saxophonist Urs Leimgruber. Following the Vortex gig, the duo of Gallio and Turner started to regularly play together in a studio-workshop basement room of Turner’s two floor flat, the place where the drummer practised. In addition, as a way to meet and mingle with a cross section of London improvisers, Gallio was soon playing in the twenty-plus member London Improvisers Orchestra at their monthly concerts.

Gallio and Turner each have long experience of playing improvised music. Both of them are well travelled, and the list of esteemed musicians each has played with reads like a Who’s Who of jazz and improvised music. There is far more to them than that, though; in their own way each is a polymath with a broad range of interests and experiences. From the start, the duo – soon named GATU, from the beginnings of their surnames – got along well as people. Not only did they play in the basement room but, while drinking a lot of tea in the kitchen above, they also talked about the world, especially about fine art.

The nature of the basement and the players’ awareness of neighbours affected their approach to how they played. On the positive side, they had to talk about such limitations, what they meant or allowed, and their approaches to improvisation. Gallio and Turner did not immediately get on musically but they struggled through differences together. The initial idea behind the basement meetings was not to record an album, but it was soon obvious that would be a sensible idea. In fact, it was not until 14th December 2022 - nearing the end of Gallio’s six-month visit – that the album was recorded. Despite the time that the two had spent playing together in Turner’s basement, when they recorded the album, everything was spontaneously played live, without any pre-conceived ideas about the content of what they would play.

The end result was the six tracks here which range in length from just over three minutes to just under sixteen. Despite the different durations of those tracks, it is immediately obvious that nothing was being forced; if the music was flowing and sounding good, they would go with it for as long as necessary to play everything that needed playing; if three minutes was long enough to say all that needed saying, why play more? Gallio played soprano, alto and C-melody saxophones, giving plenty of variety to his playing. Turner is credited with drums and percussion, which gives some idea of the scope of his playing. Throughout the album, the effects of the duo’s basement meetings are plain to hear. For the majority of the time, both of them are playing together with neither of them leading and the other following; from the rhythms which they each play without either of them setting the pace, it is clear that they are listening to one another throughout, side by side.

In the history of jazz, The Art of the Duo has been used as an album title several times, most notably by US saxophonist Lee Konitz and German trombonist Albert Mangelsdorff (Enja, 1988), by pianist Mal Waldron and saxophonist Jim Pepper (Tutu, 1989), and by Danish bassist Niels-Henning Orsted Pederson and Belgian guitarist Philip Catherine (Enja, 1993). The Enja label once had a sub-label called Art of the Duo. All of the above preceded the series of five albums by the Brad Mehldau Trio which were entitled (or subtitled) The Art of the Trio.

Despite such usages, it is not easy to find a description of what constitutes “the art of the duo” in jazz or improvised music. Suffice to say that any credible description would have to encompass the duo of Gallio and Turner, their approaches to playing together and the contents of You Can Blackmail Me Later.



L’incontro a Londra fra Christoph Gallio al sax alto, soprano e C-melody e Roger Turner batteria e percussioni è stato registrato spontaneamente, senza spartiti o idee da seguire, fra loro è stato subito improvvisazione a prima vista, ricca di idee che aspettavano soltanto di essere trasmesse al pubblico.
È una comunicazione sottile, i due interagiscono perfettamente, si ascoltano a vicenda, sanno usare la loro energia con logica, le improvvisazioni ai sax di Gallio si incastrano perfettamente con le percussioni, che ascoltano e rispondono alle evoluzioni dei sax del musicista svizzero .
Il free jazz dei due funziona ancora, che si sviluppi in brani di tre minuti, o che oppure occupi sedici minuti di registrazione per East End Streets.
Gallio non si preoccupa di trovare melodie per ingraziarsi l’ascoltatore, la sua proposta radicale che si ispira alla scuola di Chicago, Braxton e Roscoe Mitchell, è qui perfettamente realizzata, grazie all’empatia trovata con Turner.
Per chi apprezza il genere uno di quei dischi che si ascolta volentieri più volte per cogliere tutte le sottigliezze che i due sviluppano nel corso delle loro improvvisazioni.

Voto 9/10

Saarbrücker Zeitung, Stefan Uhrmacher

Keine Angst vor Freejazz! Neues von Gallio & Turner

Im Mai waren die Jazzer Christoph Gallio und Roger Turner in Saarbrücken – jetzt erscheint ein neues Album der beiden.

Freejazz mag im ersten Augenblick verwinkelt wirken – aber er kann mitreißend grooven: Auf Spitzenniveau führt dies das internationale Duo Christoph Gallio & Roger Turner vor. Turner, 1946 in Canterbury geboren und zwischen Modern Jazz und Improvisationsmusik unterwegs, ist eine lebende Schlagzeug-Legende. 2022 hat er sich in London mit dem Schweizer Saxofon-Veteran Gallio (1957 in Winterthur geboren) zusammengetan.

Nach einem großartigen Konzert kürzlich in Saarbrücken (Werkstatt Buckblech, Großherzog-Friedrich-Straße) bestätigen die beiden ihre blendende Form nun auch auf ihrer brandneuen Tonkonserve „You can blackmail me later“ (Erpressen kannst du mich später). Mit Trommeln, Becken und ergänzender Perkussion semmelt und heizt Turner, was das Zeug hält, derweil Gallio seine Kannen (Sopran-, Alt- und C-Melody-Saxofon) heiß bläst, dass es eine Freude ist. Mit anrührend schönem und ausdrucksvollem Ton ist der Eidgenosse zudem ein Meister leiser, gefühlvoller Momente und der Brite ihm ein mustergültig einfühlsamer Partner – diese erfrischende Freejazz-Zweisamkeit sollte sich kein Freund frei aus dem Augenblick heraus erspielter Musik entgehen lassen.


Si Roger Turner est un des percussionnistes ultimes de la libre improvisation coupable de s'être commis pour le meilleur avec des "poètes" de l'improvisation incontournables tels Phil Minton, Lol Coxhill, John Russell, Michel Doneda,Alan Tomlinson, Steve Beresford, Thomas Lehn, Tim Hodgkinson et un kyrielle d'activistes "locaux" comme Kazuo Imai, Eugenio Sanna, Edoardo Ricci, Michael Keith, Witold Oleszak, Ulli Bötcher. En suivant son parcours, on ne peut que constater que Roger Turner n'a pas d'agenda de carrière ni de préjugé. Il prend au sérieux le moindre de ses engagements en donnnat toujours le meilleur de lui-même. Il y a chez lui une flexibilité dans le jeu et la qualité émotionnelle qui se rapproche avec fluidité de l'esprit et de la sensibilité sonore de ses partenaires qu'ils soient habituels ou d'un soir. Il m'a un jour déclaré que c'était dommage que il n'avait quasi jamais l'occasion de jouer avec des musiciens plus jazz ou "free-jazz". Lors d'un concert, j'ai pu l'entendre jouer au pied levé avec Charles Gayle et le contrebassiste Juni Booth, aujourd'hui décédé. J'avais plus que l'impression d'entendre Milford Graves lui-même avec ses figures rythmiques qui accélèrent et décélèrent, ses frappes et ses roulements qui se croisent sans arrêt dans un déluge de pulsations qui s'écartent et se ratrappent les unes aux autres comme par magie. Unique ! Avec le saxophoniste Suisse, Christoph Gallio, on perçoit la filiation de Sunny Murray, mais aussi une puissance alliée à une délicatesse infinie. Christoph Gallio, explore sans relâche les registres secrets de ses saxophones alto, soprano et C Melody: murmures subsoniques, coups de bec assourdis, feulements, scories, vocalisations, détachés équivoques, faux doigtés, sursauts hérissés, fragments mélodiques, canarderies, spirales incertaines avec une forme de lyrisme lunatique. N.B. Christoph a joué récemment avec Gerry Hemingway et son label PERCASO publie ses projets depuis des décennies. Il semble que Roger Turner essaie d'abord la batterie, avec vibrations, divers roulements de caisse claire pour en suite s'échapper sur les rebords des fûts en modifiant sensiblement le calibre de ses frappes, leurs intensités. Le silence intervient et des coups coordonnés césurent celui-ci. Petit à petit, une poésie s'installe, un dialogue précis et incertain se fait jour. Les deux prennnent le temps de jouer , de trouver des échappées, faire venir lueurs ou assombrissements, sursautent et pressent les tempi imaginaires, élastiques. Une séquence animée s'enchaîne avec une recherche introspective, le souffle lunaire et vaporeux d'un moment. Les duettistes nous promènent dans tous les états gazeux, liquides ou granuleux de leurs dérives. On pourrait peut être dire que le duo de Roger avec Urs Leimgruber se révèle plus "décisif" (cfr The Pancake Tour ou The Spirit Guide). Mais ce ne serait pas rendre justice à leur formidable expressivité, à leur disposition d'esprit et surtout le sens de la recherche instantanée expressive de Christoph Gallio, lequel sublime ses capacités de souffleur pour donner le meilleur de lui-même autant qu'il est humainement possible. Tout du long, c'est un véritable feu intérieur qui se livre, rougeoie, sature, explose et métamorphose la saxophonitude free. Dans les moments d'emportement convulsifs, Roger Turner exulte, chahute, virevolte comme un diable et Christoph Gallio, ici volatile picorant dans la jungle là époumonnant sa rage, sublime l'idée qu'on se fait de la libération du free-jazz. Vous vivrez ici tous les registres de la déraison. Une musique d'improvisation free authentique, ludique et salvatrice. Please mail me later !! Vachement réussi !!


CHRISTOPH GALLIO & ROGER TURNER You Can Blackmail Me Later (Hat Hut Records ezz-thetics 1055): Gallio bei den Briten. Sein Ausflug auf die Insel im Dezember 2022 zeitigte, vier Tage vor dem Auftritt „Live at Cafe Oto London” am 18.12. mit Dominic Lash & Mark Sanders, auch eine Session mit einem der gewieftesten Könner des Brit-Plonks. Turner, mit Jg. 46 ein alte Hase, streut seine perkussiven Küttel in der BA seit „Ammo” mit Phil Minton, mit Lol Coxhill, The Recedents, The Comforts of Madness, Konk Pack und mit Hans Koch oder Urs Leimgruber auch schon in Schweizer Gesellschaft. Mit Gallio als Duo Gatu habe ich ihn gerade in Weikersheim verpasst, und was mir da entging, wird klar, wenn die beiden sich aus 'The Box' tasten, als wären sie Springteufelchen der vorsichtigen Sorte. Turner mit zuckenden, tickenden, galoppierenden Stöckchen, Gallio mit rostiger Zunge züngelnd nach poetischen Leckerbissen. 'Service' besteht in schrottig gepolterten und dissonant quäkenden Lauten und anhaltendem Heulen, mit wie kaputtem Soprano nach zuvor dem Altosax. Mit dem streift Gallio anfangs kleinlaut und bluesy auch durch 'East End Streets', mit einem melodischen Faden, den er zu raschelnder, rauschend crescendierender und aneckender Turnerei krähend, immer furioser, insistenter und vollmundig voranzerrt, obwohl ihn zwischendurch doch kurz mal die Courage verlässt. Für 'Dark Chill' fiept er zu stricknadeligen, pochenden, sirrenden Geräuschen wieder das Soprano, kecker als es anfänglich scheint. Und nachdem sie den Erpressungsversuch vehement crashend und mit furiosem Alto abgeschmettert haben, gackern und tockeln sie noch 'Fack Off' hinterher, mit rauen, aber launigen Kürzeln, erleichterter Genüsslichkeit, vogeligem Tirili, aber doch auch leisen Zeifeln am eigenen Übermut. Verdammt schade, dass ich's nicht in den w71 geschafft habe.