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PHILIPP GROPPER / PHILM ~ LICHT
WHYPLAYJAZZ 007 (Barcode: 4050486070048) ~ GERMANY ~ Jazz

Recorded: 2011 Released: 2012

This is the debut album by the quartet called PhilmFind albums by this artist, led by German saxophonist / composer Philipp GropperFind albums by this artist and including Norwegian pianist Havard WilkFind albums by this artist, Danish bassist Andreas LangFind albums by this artist and German drummer Oliver SteidleFind albums by this artist. Gropper is also known as the leader of the trio Hyperactive KidFind albums by this artist and the group TauFind albums by this artist, as well as a member of FUSKFind albums by this artist, SONNEFind albums by this artist and several other projects. With over thirty albums as a leader and sideman he is one of the most prolific German (Berlin based) Jazz musicians since the turn of the Millennium. The album presents six original compositions, all by Gropper.

The music presents a set of passionate statements, beautifully crafted by their composer and wonderfully executed by the quartet, which combines four individual talents into a fresh amalgam, where the total is greater than the sum of its parts. Since I´m already familiar with Gropper, Lang and Steidle from other recordings, it is Wilk who is the nicest surprise of this album, playing some superbly imaginative lines and proving to be pianist definitely worth following in the future. Lang plays his usual wonderful bass staccatos and keeps the rhythm section as an integral part of the collective improvisation. Steidle, who is another veteran on the German scene and has a fine reputation as a highly imaginative and gifted drummer justifies his standing in full.

Although most of the music is improvised, it has a strong melodic ingredient, sometimes clearly noticeable but most of the time only present subconsciously. This music has a clearly defined direction and a sense of purpose, which many Free Jazz / Improvised Music recordings simply lack completely. To be completely free and unrestrained within specified harmonic and melodic boundaries is a much more sophisticated form of expression than complete tonal anarchy, something free improvisers tend to forget.

Overall this is an excellent debut group effort and I´m looking forward to hearing more from where this music came from, hopefully soon!
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