GERU

Frank RUBOLINO
Cadence 2002, July

Peter Kowald has toured Russia on several occasions, and the quartet recording is a cooperative resulting from his exposure to the musicians of that country. He and German drummer Dietrich Rauschtenberger teamed with Russian guitarist Sasha Kostikov and trumpet/flute player Andrei Solovyov in Moscow for a totally improvised, instantly composed demonstration of open and at times rambunctious music. Kowald has a huge presence on bass with his highly aggressive attack on the strings, and this in turn spurs Solovyov into heavy rounds of free blowing and Kostikov into a more restrained but fully improvised mind set. The noted throat singing of Kowald is again a feature, and this time it is countered with comparable vocals at a higher octave from Solovyov.
Several of the cuts are duets where Kowald interacts with Kostikov or Solovyov in very different ways. With the guitarist, he ranges openly over the bass in pizzicato mode while Kostikov improvises with a definitive blend of Western freedom and Eastern European ethnic folk derivatives. With the trumpeter, Kowald takes a more hostile approach to cause Solovyov to be just as aggressive. Rauschtenberger also duets with the Russians, allowing for a more intimate opportunity to hear his intricate drumming while his partners match the liberalism. The program is most creative when the full quartet is in bloom. On Rule, Solovyov switches to flute and uses a trilling tongue style to probe into a quieter form of collective improvisation with the group.



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