Different Distances album review @ All About Jazz

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Joachim Gies: Different Distances

Joachim Gies plays soprano, alto, and tenor saxophones, as well as bass clarinet. This is a disc of 23 brief duos (the longest is four-and-a-half minutes; there’s also a solo Gies piece that’s just over seven minutes) played by Gies with, variously, mezzo-soprano Ute Döring; Alex Nowitz (male voice, live electronics); Ernst-Ludwig Petrowsky (alto sax); Thomas Wiedermann (trombone); and Thomas Böhm-Christi (cello).

Gies has a chameleon’s ability on his various reeds. On «Arizona» with the wailing (and electronically transmuting) Nowitz and «auf immer» with Wiedermann, he sounds very much like Evan Parker; on «Shortly before the end» with Böhm-Christi, he works over a repetitive tech groove. Döring gibbers and squeaks on «Gelbes Rauschen,» but sings in a conventional operatic vein, wonderfully accompanied by Gies, on «Ich weiss du trittst zu mir ins haus,» «Der hügel wo wir wandeln liegt im schatten,» and «Willst du noch länger auf den kahlen böden.» These rather classical takes are the highlights of the disc along with Gies’ arresting solo, «About conditions to feel time.» Two further duets with Böhm-Christi, «Admission for the unauthorized» and «Rotweiß,» are also striking. «Abysses» and many of the other pieces with Nowitz indulge rather dispiritingly, for a musician of Gies’ caliber, in noise play. But on «Wortep» and «Developments» Gies and Petrowsky squabble amiably, but with rising fury.

A panoramic disc with a huge expansive reach, this disc marks Joachim Gies as a reedman with a future to watch.

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