WWW.FREEJAZZBLOG.ORG: August 11, 2018; Marco Colonna, Agustí Fernández & Zlatko Kaučič - Agrakal (Not Two, 2018) ****1/2

The three Mediterranean musicians - Italian clarinet and baritone sax player Marco Colonna, Catalan pianist Agustí Fernández, and Slovenian drummer-percussionist Zlatko Kaučič, have played with each other before, but their performance at the Italian Novara Jazz Festival on December 2017 was their first ever as a trio. Colonna has recorded two albums with Fernández - Desmadre (Fonterossa Records, 2014) and the self-released, live Birth of Shapes (2016). Fernández also recorded duets with Kaučič, Sonic Poetry (Not Two, 2014), and played with him in a trio with Evan Parker. Colonna recorded with Kaučič and Italian bass player Giovanni Maier the self-released Impressioni Astratte (2016).

The titles of their albums together offer an insight for their shared mode of operation. All three musicians are masters of the art of free-improvisation and all have developed a highly personal and resourceful language. AGRAKAL invites all to experience this unique art of free-improvisation “where even voices have roots and take on color.” Colonna, Fernández and Kaučič don’t spend time on unnecessary introductions and the opening piece, the 22-minutes of “Waves of Perceptions” already demonstrate how this trio keep constructing and deconstructing, shifting and shaping immediate and urgent textures, without losing the focus or tension. The trio manages to form a new language where the extended breathing techniques of Colonna resonates organically with the inventive work of Fernández on the piano strings and the delicate cymbal work of Kaučič. The trio covers an impressive spectrum of moods, colors, rhythmic patterns and sounds, from the refined chamber interplay through the quiet and abstract to the tough and stormy.

The following pieces are shorter, but each one suggests a distinct improvisation strategy and all together the rich and nuanced new language of this trio. “Drops” deepens the dense, uncompromising and conflictual interplay explored on “Waves of Perceptions”. “Cellular” changes the dark and intense atmosphere with a playful game of inventive rhythmic patterns, where all the three musicians offer their own unconventional rhythmic angle. “From The Ground To The Sky” refuses stubbornly to settle on any course, pulse or clear structure and leads directly to “Textures of Nowhere”, that actually adopts a coherent texture, physical but also a lyrical and emotional one. This performance is concluded with another playful piece, the short “Coming Back” that shifts quickly from a sparse improvisation to a folk theme.

Hope that AGRAKAL is only the first document of this great trio.

(Eyal Hareuveni)


SALT-PEANUTS.EU: August 11, 2018; COLONNA / FERNÁNDEZ / KAUCIC

Den italienske saksofonisten og klarinettisten Marco Colonna horte jeg forste gang i 2017 under Novara Jazz Festival i Piemonte i Italia. Der gjorde han blant annet en solokonsert inne i et knott lite olbryggeri, en altfor varm formiddag. Og den opplevelsen sto igjen som en av festivalens hoydepunkter.

Han utga sin forste plate i 2006, og etter det har det kommet en eller to plater narmest hvert ar fra den relativt frittgaende saksofonisten.

Pa «Agrakal» moter vi han sammen med pianisten Agusti Fernández og trommeslageren og perkusjonisten Zlatko Kaučič i sju «komposisjoner», som jeg formoder er gjort av de tre i fellesskap.

De apner med «Waves of Perception», og derfra og til de runder av med «Improvised music by the trio», er dette et studium i freejazzens mangfoldige irrganger.

Det hele starter litt provende, som det ofte gjor i slike sammenhenger, hvor tre musikere som ikke spiller sammen sa ofte treffes, og kun har spilt sammen pa lydprove for konsert. Colonna spiller klarinett, og jeg kan love at det er en lang avstand mellom det han serverer til for eksempel Benny Goodman. Men det er mye tradisjon i det han gjor, og Jimmy Guiffre dukker raskt opp i bakhodet. Kaučič og Fernandez kommer inn, og musikerne samler seg i en helt egen energi, hvor Colonnas kraftfulle klarinettspill, som nesten «sprekker» i toppen, forer an.

Hele innspillingen varierer i intensitet og nerve. Men hele tiden er spenningen nesten til a ta og fole pa. Colonna veksler mellom barytonsaksofon og klarinett, og vi fascineres av hans kraftige tone i barytonen. Hor for eksempel pa hans spill i tredjesporet «Cellular», mesterlig! Improvisasjonene og kommunikasjonen mellom de tre fremstar narmest som somlose, og selv om Colonna fremstar som leder av trioen, er begge medmusikantene med pa a gjore denne «reisen» til en svart fascinerende opplevelse. Fernández med sitt heftige pianospill, som tar arven fra Cecil Taylor et par steg videre, og Kaučič som en kloning av Paul Lovens og Paal Nilssen-Love.

Dette er et album fra en stralende livekonsert, du skal sette deg ned i godstolen og folge fra start til mal, for det meste henger sammen pa en utmerket mate. De tre musikerne forsker hele veien pa hva de skal finne pa, noe som kan ga helt galt, men ikke her.

Jeg synes «Agrakal» er blitt et helstopt og fint album, som bor lyttes til av alle venner av frittgaende jazzmusikk. Og hvorfor ikke fa denne trioen pa en eller flere jazzfestivaler i Norden?

(Jan Granlie)


AVANTSCENA.WORDPRESS.COM: August 11, 2018; Marco Colonna, Agustí Fernandez, Zlatko Kaučič ?– “Agrakal” (Not Two Records, 2018)

“Agrakal” was recently released by “Not Two Records”. Album was recorded by great and expressive trio – it’s Marco Colonna (clarinet, baritone saxophone), Zlatko Kaučič (drums, percussion) and Agusti Fernandez (piano). Three musicians – three different and colorful playing styles. Their music is filled with abstract sounds, unusual timbres, bright and expressive melodies, turbulent and extremely intensive culminations, spontaneous and thrilling solos and many other elements. Musicians not hesitate to use their instruments by using weird, drastic or interesting ways of playing. They are the masters of fusing together different msical language elements, which are the opposites to each other. They take advantage from the possibility to explore new ways of playing or expand traditional abilities of their instruments. Their music is based on free structure, open form, basics of avant-garde jazz and free improvisations.

“Agrakal” is filled with turbulent, intense and bright sound. The basics of avant-garde jazz are used here all the time – it’s form the most important basement of compositions. Musicians are improvising with passion, full expression and joy. Their music is based on marvelous and effective solos, splendid, bright and luminuous melodies, sharp harmony, harsh, sharp, violent, provocative, aggressive and rigorous culminations. Dark, loud and harsh episodes are organically mixed with light, evocative, joyful, soft or calm and relaxing excerpts. Musicians are dedicated to express many different emotions and characters – they produce especiqally wide palette, that consists of dozens of different colors, timbres, playing techniques, emotions and characters. Another one important element of the compositions is free improvisation. That’s the basics of whole album – musicians are improvising together, exploring new ways of playing and demonstrating their own and unique sounds in the most effective and interesting way. Compositions have very rich, modern and innovative musical language. It has many layers, which are contrasting with each other. Solid rhythmic section, gorgeous, expressive and charming melodic basic, colorful and bright background, sharp and modern harmony pattern, huge variety of unuual ways of playing and sounds – these elements form at least four different layers. They differ from each other – layers are originally created by each musician, they are based on different musical language elements. The rich instrumentation is one of the most important elements of whole album. It’s filled with modern and bright ways of playing, which are conneced together with very well-known academical music playing techniques, sound experiments and special effects. Musicians also use their own and original playing techniques and unique methodes of improvising. That makes an effort to suggestive, dramatic, turbulent and bright sound. Huge range of different musical expressions are used here – musicians masterfully blend them together in one musical pattern. Saxophone and clarinet melodies have free structure and gorgeous musical language. Impressive and harsh improvisations by Marco Colonna are filled with expressive and loud solos, illustrative, effective and remarkable melodies, intensive, vibrant, tremendous and trembling blow outs, terryfying, aggressive and provocative improvisations – all these elements are organically mixed together in one place and make an effort to marvelous and brilliant sound. Agusti Fernandez piano is more similar to the playground – many different forms, shapes, rhythms, scales and chords are creatively and inventively mixed here. Pianist afventurously and expressively jumps through different moods, playing manners and use innovative ways of playing. His improvisations are filled with bright and thrilling solos, very dynamic and speedy arpeggios, wild fast passages, roaring roulades and other virtuosic elements. Arpeggio, moody and playful stacatto, colorful glissando, huge range of virtuosic elements, sudden jumps to the different directions, bordering dynamics – that’s jus a small part of pianist improvisations. The most effective episodes are collective improvisations with other two triio musicians. It has especially passionate, bright, energetic, vibrant, turbulent and suggestive sound. Zlatko Kaucic drums section is bright, intensive and vital. Huge amount of different rhythms and expressions is mixed here. Drummer effectively mixed different ways of playing, makes spontaneous and inventive musical decisions, eclectic contrasts and stylistic combinations and other similar elements. Turbulent, provocative and rigorous culminations are the most effective, passionate and interesting episodes. The music of this album is based on marvelous improvising by three great jazz masters – it brings impressive, inspiring and innovative sound.