WWW.CITIZENJAZZ.COM, 26 mars 2017; DISORDER AT THE BORDER PLAYS ORNETTE COLEMAN

Repéré il y a quelques mois pour un concert enregistré pour le label du contrebassiste Giovanni Maier, Disorder At The Border, qui tire son nom d’un titre de Coleman Hawkins, propose sur le label polonais Not Two une nouvelle expression de son énergie live. Comme abondance de Coleman ne nuit jamais, ce n’est pas Hawkins qui est convoqué, mais Ornette ; un terrain de jeu ou ces habitués de la scene improvisée européenne s’ébrouent avec une grande liberté et une confiance réciproque. Ainsi « The Garden of Souls », un morceau ou la base rythmique italo-slovene composée de Maier et de Zlatko Kaučič s’élancent dans un face-a-face complexe ou la contrebasse est plus seche et nerveuse que jamais.

Pourtant, dans ce Plays Ornette, l’équilibre des forces a plutôt changé par rapport au précédent album ou Maier prédominait. L’ensemble reste fort égalitaire ; en témoigne « New York », la longue introduction élégamment déconstruite, mais c’est le multianchiste Daniele D’Agaro qui est naturellement l’éclaireur de cette visite du patrimoine. Il passe toujours aussi aisément des saxophones (ici particulierement l’alto ou il se révele tres virulent) aux clarinettes dont l’usage a toujours été plus atmosphérique (« Him & Her », beau dialogue amoureux avec l’archet de la contrebasse).

Les choix des morceaux emprunté a l’imposante discographie d’Ornette Coleman ne sont pas anodins. Si l’on fait abstraction de « Mob Job », tiré du Song X avec Metheny ou Kaučič et D’Agaro s’étrillent sans retenue, tout se concentre sur une période assez courte, entre 1966 et 1969, pas forcément celle que l’on cite spontanément. On notera également que « Faithful », sans doute le sommet de ce disque ou chaque titre est exploré avec une grande minutie, est le seul que Coleman enregistra en trio (avec son fils Denardo, sur Empty Foxhole). « This Is Our Music ! », affirme crânement Disorder At The Border. On ne peut pas le contredire, tant cette belle capitation est fluide et naturelle. L’occasion de découvrir ce trio en terrain familier, dans des conditions idéales.

(Franpi Barriaux)


WWW.ALLABOUTJAZZ.COM, December 24, 2016; Daniele D'Agaro, Giovanni Maier, Zlatko Kaućić: Disorder At The Border Plays Ornette ****

Sign in to view read count Daniele D'Agaro, Giovanni Maier, Zlatko Kaućić: Disorder at the Border Plays Ornette Ornette Coleman's compositions have been reinterpreted many times and by all kind of musicians, often with less than optimal results. His pieces, deceptively simple on the surface, have always some aspects that are quite difficult to grasp, and they are so personal that sometimes they seem to work only if the author (or some of his closest associates) is involved... Exceptions exist of course, and one of the most successful recent attempts at "playing Ornette" is this new record by the italian-slovenian trio Disorder at the Border (pun definitely intended).

The instrumentation is nothing exotic—woodwinds, bass and drums—and yet, the multiple colors available in Daniele D'Agaro's instrumentation, supported and propelled by Giovanni Maier's resonant bass and the energetic drumming of Zlatko Kaućić, give the proceedings an instantly engaging quality, thanks also to the immediate, lively quality of the recording, that captures the trio's performance at the Italian "Jazz & Wine of Peace Festival" in October 2015. There's a strong connection to Ornette's first acoustic ensembles, but the compositions chosen here are atypical for this kind of projects—they come from later phases of Coleman's career and they were often recorded with completely different instrumentations. This contrast serves the music well, indeed, presenting familiar themes in completely different incarnations, revealing in the process new details and possible interpretations.

"New York" begins with the distinctive theme played on the tenor sax, supported by the polyrhythms of bass and drums, and then develops in different sections alternating between tight free-bop exchanges and textural pianissimo excursions made of atonal contrabass pizzicatos and bass clarinet ruminations, slowly building a steady rhythm just to pulverize it again in simultaneous sonic explorations. The rest of the record is equally engaging—the rubato approach and delicate clarinet lines perfectly capture the melancholic subtext of "Mob Job," while on "Him & Her" the musicians build at first a complex, abstract three-way dialogue, finally liberating the groove in the second part of the piece. The record ends with "Comme Il Faut," that summarizes the overall character of the album, framing a richly textured suspended section with bluesy, groove oriented materials, and the inevitable, but always well calibrated, bursts of pure energy. All three musicians are technically impeccable and inventive improvisers, and throughout the album they approach Coleman's idiosyncratic compositions with unusual confidence and a refreshing spontaneity, never losing sight of the lyrical and exuberant character of the originals while putting their personal indelible mark on them.

(NICOLA NEGRI)


RADIOSTUDENT.SI, 18. 12. 2016; DISORDER AT THE BORDER: PLAYS ORNETTE

V zasedbi Disorder At The Border so moči združili trije mojstri freejazzovskih in improviziranih muzik, od katerih dva zelo dobro poznamo tudi z domačih koncertnih odrov. Ja, za ritem v triu skrbita tolkalec in bobnar Zlatko Kaučič ter njegov tesni sodelavec, italijanski kontrabasist Giovanni Maier, tretji član tria pa je Maierjev rojak, saksofonist in klarinetist Daniele D'Agaro. Ime zasedbe so si izposodili od legendarnega ameriškega jazzovskega saksofonista Colemana Hawkinsa oziroma naslova njegove skladbe iz leta 1952, o tem, zakaj prav to ime, pa verjetno ni treba preveč ugibati. Ko so konec novembra 2013 nastopili v Divači in posnetek pozneje objavili v obliki plošče, begunska kriza sicer še ni zajela celotne Evrope, bržkone pa je izbiri imena vsaj deloma botroval tragičen brodolom, v katerem je slaba dva meseca prej blizu obale italijanske Lampeduse utonilo tristo šestdeset afriških beguncev, pa tudi takratni ignorantski odnos Bruslja, ki je življenjske usode ljudi prepuščal južnoevropskim državam. No, potem ko je begunski val lani preplavil Evropo, ponovno združenje tria ni bilo le logično, pač pa tako rekoč nujno. Kaučič, Maier in D'Agaro so konec lanskega oktobra na Jazz & Wine festivalu v italijanskem Krminu zato spet skupaj stopili na oder, repertoar pa sestavili iz skladb lani preminulega jazzovskega velikana Ornetta Colemana.

Od trojice takega kalibra seveda ni šlo pričakovati klasičnega preigravanja Colemanovih standardov, pač pa njihovim posamičnim in skupnemu izrazu prikrojene interpretacije. Prav tukaj pa bi morebiti lahko iskali vzroke za previdnost. Ker gre v primeru vseh treh za glasbenike, ki so izoblikovali zelo močne, prepoznavne lastne izraze, bi se na koncu namreč povsem lahko zgodilo, da bi v interpretacijah ostalo bore malo "Ornetta". Toda izkazalo se je, da je bil ta pomislek odveč. Bodisi zaradi spoštovanja do Colemana in njegove zapuščine bodisi zato, ker je šlo za ekspliciten poklon, ali še raje zaradi kombinacije obojega. Ja, vsi trije glasbeniki imajo za sabo predolgo kilometrino in znajo, takrat ko je to potrebno, svoje ege postaviti ob stran. To je očitno tudi na novi plošči, kar pa ne pomeni, da zato v skladbah ni slišati njih samih. Deloma zagotovo tudi na račun tega, da nad njimi med igro pač ni bedel Coleman, ki je znal (preveč) umiriti tudi take veljake, kot sta bila Elvin Jones in Jimmy Garrison. Kaučič in Maier si razumljivo vzameta več prostora in privoščita več kompleksne ritmičnosti, a takrat, ko to zahtevajo skladbe, hkrati iniciativo brez zadržkov prepustita D'Agarovim saksofonom in klarinetom. Ta pa se v Colemanovih motivih, tudi takrat ko jih obrne po svoje, znajde zelo dobro. Ker je šest skladb nabranih z različnih albumov, ki jih je Coleman objavil med sredino šestdesetih in sredino osemdesetih let, so izvirniki stilsko bolj različni, kljub temu pa trojec v svojih zvočno in izrazno bolj minimalističnih interpretacijah lepo ujame njihovo bistvo in jim pogosto, bodisi subtilno ali z več drznosti, doda nekaj svojega. Izvrsten primer tega je denimo izvrstna, tukaj za približno deset minut podaljšana različica skladbe Him And Her, ki jo trojec preobleče v epsko izpoved z močnim bluesovskim značajem. Ja, s ploščo Plays Ornette se Disorder At The Border predstavi kot izvrstno uigran trio, ki se zelo dobro znajde v različnih (jazzovskih) pristopih pa tudi v ustvarjanju različnih razpoloženj.

(GORAN KOMPOŠ)


WWW.JAZZWORD.COM, November 21, 2016; Disorder at the Border Plays Ornette

Like dealing with an experimental scientific formula, altering just one aspect of a musical formation can result in a completely different, if equally satisfying compound. So it is with these two CDs here. Both feature two of Northern Italy’s most accomplished players, multi-reedist Daniele D'Agaro and double bassist Giovanni Maier. Yet altering the third angle of the improvisational triangle creates a situation where the formulae barely resemble one another.

With Italian flutist Massimo De Mattia as the new ingredient Tea Time becomes a controlled chamber-Jazz recital, whose 12 short selections depend on in-the-moment tone blending in a frame of time suspension. As different as insulin is to amphetamine, Plays Ornette is a personalized recasting of six Ornette Coleman compositions, mostly written for his electric band(s). While the performances may be as voltaic as those envisioned by the American avatar, the realization is completely acoustic. Power sparks are supplied by Slovenian drummer Zlatko Kaučič plus the fact that D'Agaro adds alto and tenor saxophones, and bass clarinet work to the clarinet tones that characterize his work on the other CD.

Taking the group name from a venerable Coleman Hawkins recording, Disorder at the Border is also a sly reference to the two countries involved. Considering that these areas share a similar history, and pre-First World War were both part of the Austro-Hungarian Empire, means that there’s more arrangement than disorder in these performances. Attacking the tunes with the sort of vigor the Austrian army should have shown in 1914, the three pile colors and textures onto Coleman’s basic structures. Consistent throughout are D’Agaro’s sharp reed bites and Kaučič’s rhythmic strokes. Meanwhile Maier, who has played with everyone from trombonist Sebi Tramontana to tenor saxophonist Daniele Cavallanti, varies his bass line according to the situation. His sleight-of-hand moves from harsh string-stropping to cubist-like resonating whorls and patterns elsewhere.

With the cumulative strength of a tank battalion rolling towards a fortress, the usual intersection of rugged saxophone honks, bump-and-grind percussion whacks and tremolo string pulsing perfectly defines Coleman’s speedier numbers, while the performance also dusts them with unique Italo-Slovenian colors. But the linked mind-set and cumulative interpretative sensitivity works just as well if the trio recreates a ballad such as “Faithful”. As D’Agaro emotionally outlines that wistful theme on clarinet, it’s dissected with equal seriousness by the bassist’s well-shaped note interpolations. Like a mediator bringing together two opposing sides in a dispute, Kaučič’s dynamic patterning pushes the sides into a consistent narrative. In contrast, the subsequent astringent “The Garden of Souls” is given added resonance from the tenor saxophonist’s high-pitched slurs and shakes, surmounting double bass string rubs and cymbal snaps. “Comme Il Faut” perfectly defines both the bluster and blues-base of Coleman’s background. D’Agaro’s a capella introduction manages to reference spirituals as well as spirituality. And its conclusion is a distinctive blues snort. The piece’s basic ambulatory shape is then satisfactorily embellished with Maier’s bass shuffles, culminating in a resonating thump, and a march beat from the drummer, martial enough to reference a military campaign.

Neither the combative tones nor deep down R&B-like note shattering usually propelled by saxophone and drum elsewhere on Plays Ornette have any place on Tea Time. In fact the tracks, all named for different varieties of the hot beverage, often last only as long as it would take to sip a well-brewed cup of tea. This forces the trio to make its points in the equivalent of bag steeping time. De Mattia, who has recorded with reedist Gianluigi Trovesi serendipitously enough in a trio with Maier and Kaučič; plus D’Agaro, who concentrates on clarinet here, allow the connective bottom to materialize from the bassist’s concentrated string efforts. Depending on the situation, the horn players’ tones can be as legit and flighty as if they were auditioning for the role of cherubs in a fanciful rustic pantomime. Elsewhere their astringent reed timbres are such that each could be channeling Eric Dolphy at his most atonal.

A track such as “Licorice” demonstrates that strategy. Hard-edged, the horn exposition becomes even more staccato due to the bassist’s sul ponticello downward rubs. Whether to challenge or mock Maier, D’Agaro begins his solos with glissandi that threaten to turns into “Rhapsody in Blue”, and is then confronted with pace-making col lengo pops from the bassist. In contrast “Rooibos” takes the opposite tack. Double-stopping bass string squeezes are succeeded by the three perambulating along parallel paths that are as verdant yet twisty as Slovenian roads. Climax is reached as the flutist pushes his timbres skywards while the others’ lines become lower-pitched and centrifugal.

The defining brews are served on “Ginger”, “Sage” and “Blackcurrant” which line up one after another like camels in a caravan. Constantly active, like that desert procession, the first two tunes demonstrate how a memorable interface can be revealed when horn ornamentation creates the equivalent of sparkling swing just as Maier 12-string-guitar-like strumming cements the rhythm. Coda or comic, the subsequent “Blackcurrant” is 41 seconds of laughing altissimo clarinet lines.

Intense or impish, D'Agaro and Maier confirm they can excel playing in many fashions. Associates on these CDs add their skills to make the sessions even more memorable.

(Ken Waxman)