Oskar Aichinger — To Touch a Distant Soul
(Between the Lines btl 014, 2001, CD)
by Jeff Melton, Published 2002-04-01
Mainland European Jazz is a true mystery looking from this continent eastward across the Atlantic. To keep tabs on what is happening, what impact there is, and how volatile a jazz scene may be, literally can be viewed as a small blip on a large radar grid. Aichinger has been making inroads into improvised jazz not unlike those acclaimed artists whom appear on the ECM label or Brit jazzers on other independent labels. The core trio of Aichinger, bassist Achim Tang, and drummer Paul Skrepek are augmented by trumpet, sax, and rhythm guitar for these spontaneous sessions held in November of last year. A few notable tracks include “Cocoon,” where Aichinger’s piano establishes a brittle dialog with guitarist Martin Siewert before the brass section introduces whole note counterpoint. The track then dovetails into a somber solo piano interlude where saxophonist Max Nagl carries the dialog. The overall mix is very quiet especially on most of the lead-ins for each piece, which creates a wide dynamic range for the sextet to fill. There is plenty of mystery for this troupe to extract in form of the two centerpieces on the disc, “Nucleus” and “Initials to a Ballad.” Each piece begins from auspicious means and transcends into havens of discordant, but controlled confusion.
Related artist(s): Oskar Aichinger
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