WWW.FREEJAZZBLOG.ORG, May 16, 2019; Zlatko Kaučič - Diversity (Not Two, 2018) ****1/2

The Polish label Not Two has released, since its inception, special box sets that have celebrated special projects from Ken Vandermark (including DKV Trio & Joe McPhee), Mats Gustafsson, and Barry Guy, as well as important anniversaries such as celebrating 40 years of Joëlle Léandre's professional career as a musician, and more recently that of Kaučič, who celebrated last year his 65th birthday. The 5-disc box Diversity encompasses a series of intimate, free-improvised meetings with old and new comrades, all highlight his idiosyncratic percussive language, focused on his own set of ground drums, percussion devices and his distinct playing of the electric zither.

Diversity begins with a live recording - a trio with Catalan pianist Agustí Fernández and British tenor sax master Evan Parker, captured at Sound Disobedience Festival, Ljubljana, Slovenia, on October 2016, and titled Butterfly Wings. Kaučič recorded before duets with Parker (Round About One O’Clock, Not Two, 2011) and Fernández (Sonic Party, Not Two, 2014), while Parker and Fernández have collaborated regularly since the mid-nineties as a duo, as well as in Parker’s Electro-Acoustic Ensemble and Octet, and in a quartet with Barry Guy and Paul Lytton; however, this is the first recording of this trio. Kaučič colors the abstract, free-formed interplay with imaginative kinetic energy. He resonates Fernández inside-the-piano playing with subtle zither sounds on '#2', offers minimalist, poetic interventions to the tranquil and mysterious duet of Parker and Fernández on '#3', sings peacefully with his percussive devices on '#4', and sketches inventive, quiet percussive sounds on the last, dark and enigmatic '#7'.

The second disc, Kras, is a duet with Parker, recorded live at Jazz & Wine of Peace Festival in San Michele del Carso, Italy, in October 2016, two days before the trio with Fernández. Parker plays the tenor sax while Kaučič adds the drum set to his percussion devices and the electric zither. Both Parker and Kaučič have mastered the sax-drums format and here opted for reserved yet highly conversational, free jazz dynamics that explores twisted, melodic themes and minimalist textures. The 20-minutes “#2” distils best their profound connection. Kaučič begins with ripples of meditative zither sounds, Parker answers with beautiful, lyrical ideas and Kaučič continues coloring this conversation with powerful, rhythmic drive. The following #3” deepens the delicate, fragile vein of the zither and the sax and the short encore “#5” is the most expressive piece here.

Kaučič calls playing solo “a necessary evil” as he is forced to “lay yourself bare and expose your true self”, and the third disc, Rainbow Solitude, is exactly that. Kaučič was recorded at studio Input Level, San Biagio di Callalta, Italy on April 2016, playing ground drums, various percussion instruments and devices and the electric zither. The short nine pieces stress his unique melodic approach, often contrasted with the distorted and otherworldly sounds of the zither, and encompass broad range of sonic references that are apparent in his meetings with other musicians. You can find traces of gamelan on “Drive Through Obstacles”, delicate touches of cymbals on the meditative “Tonal Flow”, peaceful layers of resonant sounds on “Memories”, noise machines on “Sip Of Story”, disturbing cinematic tension on “Pokrovček”, meditative and ceremonial sounds on “My Home”, cheap sci-fi sounds on “Himna Za Mojo Teto Karlo”, a dramatic story on “Predor” and a playful, folky song on “Mlin”.

The fourth disc, Anima, recorded at Saint Martin's Church, Šmartno, Slovenia, on September 2016, with Danish tenor, alto and soprano sax player Lotte Anker and Polish trumpeter Artur Majewski and acoustic bass guitar player Rafał Mazur, both recorded later with Fernández (Spontaneous Soundscapes, Not Two, 2017), and all appeared on Anker’s recording from the same location (Plodi, Klopotec, 2017). Kaučič plays the ground drums, percussion and the electric zither. The atmosphere of this meeting is, again, minimalist and peaceful, focused on patient structuring of nuanced, fluid textures. Anker plays in an impressive subtle and poetic manner here, especially on “Iconic Thoughts”, “Unison Creation” and “Trte”, where she cleverly contrasts the urgent attacks of Majewski, while Kaučič comments and steers this quiet yet expressive commotion with delicate touches of the cymbals, skins and the zither.

The last disc collects two duos. The first is 'Med-Ana' with late German trombonist Johannes Bauer, recorded at the Old Movie Theatre, Medana, Slovenia, on September 2012; the second, Šmartno Suite, in memory of Bauer, with British vocal artist Phil Minton, recorded at Brda Contemporary Music Festival, Italy, in September 2014. 'Med-Ana' is a beautiful homage to one of the greatest free-improvisers of the European scene, emphasizing his passionate, highly playful and talkative interplay with Kaučič. Both sound like close friends who enjoy sharing amusing secrets and wild stories. Kaučič adds some subtle dadaist percussive inventions and interventions to Minton's vocal gymnastics but eventually manages to discipline the stream of Minton’s whispers, moans, whistles and overtones.

(Eyal Hareuveni)

WWW.ALLABOUTJAZZ.COM, February 27, 2019; Zlatko Kaućić: Diversity

Slovenian percussionist Zlatko Kaučič learned his craft in the diverse jazz scenes of Barcelona, Berlin, and Amsterdam before returning to his newly independent homeland in 1992. He collaborated extensively with local Slovenian musicians as well as illustrious visitors such as Steve Lacy, Paul Bley, Chico Freeman, Kenny Wheeler, and Paul McCandless, often utilizing composition and poetic texts. Not that you would know that from this five-disc set, which instead concentrates on Kaučič's command of unfettered expression alongside a stellar cast of improvisers drawn from across Europe.

Diversity isn't even the first multi-disc celebration of Kaučič's career. That honor goes to the triple album 30th Anniversary Concerts (Splasc(H), 2009) which included saxophonist Peter Brötzmann and singer Saadet Türkös. Since then, Kaučič's discography has featured a series of adventurous outings with high profile artists like Ab Baars on Canvas (NotTwo, 2015), Daniele D'Agaro on Disorder At The Border Plays Ornette (NotTwo, 2016), and Barry Guy on Without Borders (Fundacija Sluchaj, 2017).

Kaučič belongs to the lineage of tone colorists such as Tony Oxley and Paul Lovens, although he seems less beholden to free jazz expectations than either of them. He extracts rattles, reverberations, crackles, and other remarkable textures from a kit that includes homemade objects and electric zither, often alternating the resultant sounds in cell-like pulsations. He excels in the direct conversational environment of the duets on CDs two and five, where his unexpected timbres elicit surprising reactions. In larger group formats, Kaučič plays the full part while sensitively allowing breathing space for ensemble interchange.

CD one showcases a heavyweight encounter with Catalan pianist Agusti Fernandez and British saxophonist Evan Parker that constitutes the highlight of the whole collection. It uncoils in a stream of fast changing interaction and naturally emerging double acts. Initial flurries separated by silence become taut with tension. Kaučič perfectly paces Fernández's under-the bonnet alchemy as well as Parker's fluttering reiterations, split tones, and abstract lyricism. His transparency permits the interior piano resonances to be heard clearly in a tremendously empathetic trio.

Parker reappears on CD two, this time in a splendid twosome with the percussionist. After an incremental percussive start, Parker is focused and incantatory, which Kaučič matches through an unbroken rumble. On "Kras #2," the electric zither's sudden sonic distortion creates a conundrum for the saxophonist, who responds with a lightly articulated, circularly-breathed murmur. Further give and take ensues when the drummer moves behind his kit. On "Kras #3," they blend meditative minimalism with a tolling undercurrent, but the spiky discourse on "Kras #4" finds both men at their most intensely animated, invoking classic free jazz drum and saxophone pairings.

The nine tracks on CD three present Kaučič alone in the studio, with the percussionist as a painter of sound. The electric zither develops into a major component, making an exhilarating entry on "Drive Through Obstacles," which pitches the piece somewhere between noise and prog rock. He later evokes Sun Ra in some of his wilder moments and " Himna Za Mojo Teto Karlo" even recalls a duel between Ra and a free jazz drummer. Kaučič betrays a fondness for combining order with chaos as he mixes rhythmic cells with unusual textures, sometimes in call and response, at other times in striking juxtapositions. He fully exploits the studio environment, expanding his palette to successfully maintain interest, even adding warped vocalizations to the mix on "Predor."

On CD four Kaučič joins with three other improvisers: acoustic bassist Rafal Mazur and trumpeter Artur Majewski from Poland and Danish saxophonist Lotte Anker at a concert in Slovenia. They negotiate a shared ethos of collective improvisation, characterized by nervy exchanges, dense voicings, and sublimated egos. Majewski figures as one of the dominant voices, suggesting a Polish Bill Dixon with his spluttered, gusty smears. It's not until "Iconic Thoughts" that the interplay turns a little sparser, with a passage for tinkling percussion and trumpet susurrations one of the subtle peaks. This is selfless music that enfolds the listener in a warm embrace. One piece by this agglomeration, perhaps from the same concert, has already been released under Anker's name on Plodi (Klopotek, 2017).

The final CD contains two different duets. In the first duet with the late German trombonist Johannes Bauer, the twosome partake of stark dialogue. Bauer's predilection for spontaneously structured improvisation draws orderly rejoinders from Kaučič. The trombonist'ss muttered imprecations and exhalations mesh well with Kaučič's melodic/rhythmic motifs in a wonderful pairing. The second portion of the disc twins Kaučič with Phil Minton's incredible vocal gymnastics for a surprisingly percussive meeting.

Considered as a whole, this box set forcefully makes the case that Kaučič deserves far more attention than he has even gathered so far. He proves adept at both stimulating his partners to think anew, while remaining resolutely himself.


WWW.ALLABOUTJAZZ.COM, February 15, 2019; Zlatko Kaućić: Diversity ****

This 5-CD box Diversity was produced to honor Slovenian percussionist Zlatko Kaučič's 40 years in music. It is many things, but what it is not, is a career retrospective. How could it be? For quite awhile the drummer was a nomad, moving to Barcelona in 1976, then Amsterdam where he absorbed the new Dutch swing. His career has touched a who's who of musicians from Irene Schweitzer, to Misha Mengelberg, Peter Brötzmann, Paul Bley, and Steve Lacy, to name but a few. Upon his return to to Slovenia in 1992, he got busy fostering the jazz scene. No, this is not a retrospective because this music focuses on his free jazz and improvising. The live and studio music does not touch on Kaučič's more traditional jazz experience, his orchestral work, the Disorder At The Border recordings with the Italian musicians Daniele D'Agaro and Giovanni Maier, and Kombo B which released Rock Mi Monk (Zvočni Izviri, 2017), the excellent Thelonious Monk tribute.

The 5-CDs explore six different interfaces with free improvisation, from his solo work to duos, a trio, and a quartet.

Disc One is a trio recording from Ljubljana, Slovenia in 2016 with pianist Agusti Fernandez and saxophonist Evan Parker. Both artists previously recorded duos with Kaučič for Not Two Records. The live recording features seven sections entitled "Butterfly Wings." Parker sticks exclusively to tenor saxophone here, and Fernandez is always apt to open the piano for manipulation of its insides. The trio makes music very much in the British tradition of free music, and Kaučič's playing elicits comparisons to Paul Lytton and the German percussionist Paul Lovens. Each piece is packed and unpacked with clusters of sound and the contrasting silences. Kaučič takes on the role of the busy sous-chef ensuring all manner of sound comes together. He utilizes every tool in his kitchen from metal, to skins, plastic, mallets, and his electric zither. This three-way conversation tiptoes (mostly) as the players are more apt to listen here than shout.

Disc Two was recorded two days earlier in Italy, and it is just a duo with Parker. "Just" doesn't begin to explain this live recording. Like their previous recording Round About One O'Clock (Not Two, 2011) the pair are locked into a debate, albeit a mostly friendly one. Their push-pull is at times a call-and-response, and elsewhere comment and provocation. Kaučič ranges between weird invented sound and thunderous bass drum bombs. His cymbal etchings and electric zither sounds invite Parker to dole out trancelike waves of notes. Elsewhere they deliver the classic free jazz tenor/drums performance of sound-on-sound-energy jazz. As a standalone release, this might be an album of the year candidate.

Along the same line of thought, Kaučič's solo performance on disc three is a complete meal in itself. This is the only studio recording in this boxset and it makes good use of the pristine setting to capture the most intimate of sounds. Listeners might recognize some of Kaučič's approach in the music of Chicago's Tim Daisy, and it wouldn't be a stretch to says the two share similar DNA. He favors "lean-in" music. Small details emanate from his homemade percussive devices, gongs, and his electric zither, which trades off ambient meditations with the rattle tick buzz of an engaged musician.

The fourth disc features saxophonist Lotte Anker, trumpeter Artur Majewski, and bassist Rafal Mazur, and it is perhaps a reprise of their recording Plodi (Klopotec, 2017). Like the trio outing, when the number of musicians increases, so does the attentiveness. The music here is mostly minimal. Kaučič acts as a hushed commenter, brushes painting cymbals, clattering metals, found objects, and electric impulses firing. His compatriots find inspiration in (small "i") improvisations. Slurry horns and bowed bass interactions sow seeds of group creation.

The fifth disc feature two sections. The first is a duo with the German trombonist Johannes Bauer, who apparently has as many tools packed into his trombone as Kaučič has in his percussion closet. The pair tap out Morse code, slide stuttering notes at each other, and sound as if they are two boys rolling around on a field of green grass. Bauer's vocalizations lead nicely into the 24-minute duet the drummer delivers with the British improvising singer Phil Minton. The vocalist brings out Kaučič's inner-Han Bennink. The drummer exorcises sound from paper, metal, skins and, of course, his electric zither. Minton whispers, whistles, snorts, chortles, howls in a maelstrom of crowd pleasing music making.

Somebody (everybody) put in your orders for part II, III, and IV of this Kaučič celebration.


AVANTSCENA.WORDPRESS.COM, January 10, 2019; Zlatko Kaučič – “Diversity” (Not Two, 2018)

“Diversity” was released on 2018 by “Not Two Records”. Album was recorded by Zlatko Kaučič (ground drums, various percussion, el. zither), Lotte Anker (tenor saxophone), Artur Majewski (trumpet), Rafał Mazur (acoustic bass guitar), Agusti Fernandez (piano), Evan Parker (tenor saxophone) and Johaness Bauer (trombone). The musicians are improvising in different combos and groups – first part of album is the trio of Agusti Fernandez, Zlatko Kaučič and Evan Parker. Trio musicians are faous at world-wide avant-garde jazz scene from numerous collaboration and concerts with other jazz stars, innovative style and unique sound. The second part is a little bit different – here together play Lotte Anker, Artur Majewski, Rafal Mazur and Zlatko Kaučič. The album is consisted from 5 parts – two of them are the solos of Zlatko Kaučič’s, or his duos with Johaness Bauer. There’s a great oportunity to hear out different musicians playing together – all of them are individual and innovative players. The quartet and trio is leaded by Zlatko Kaučič, who is inventive, modern and creative drummer and percussionist. He generates the most part of the ideas, arranges the basics of compositions and keeps the main mood of album. Two parts had been recorded by different players, but still have much in common. It’s anchanting sound, marvelous solos, innovations and traditions – all brought together in colorful and modern way.

“Diversity” has remarkable and inspiring sound. The album is filled with huge amount of styles, expressions, tunes, timbres and expressions. The music is played and spontaneously improvised by great jazz masters. Each of them makes hiw own musical decisions, get on brave adventures or scandalous culminations. Their music is free, engaging, filled with enchanting changes, passionate solos and and crazy ideas. There are 5 parts of this album – it’s a great and exceptional opportunity to hear different ensembles or solos, who base their music on experimental jazz. Basically, avant-garde jazz and its innovations always rests the most important base of compositions. Hot and expressive solos, complicated rhythmic and vivid melodies of modern jazz are added together with contemporary, progressive, fusion and dozens of other jazz styles. Music relates with experimental music and academic avant-garde – these intonations are neutral and subtle, it’s gently joined together to common musical pattern. Expression of dozens of moods, search of extended playing techniques, gorgeous timbres, weird or extravagant ideas or expansion of instruments technical abilities are very important elements of improvising style. That effects bright, luminous, polyphonic and vivacious musical pattern. It’s organic, evocative and composed from dozens of different pieces. Multi-colorful instrumentation, suggestive playing techniques, experiments, special effects, synthetic sounds and other elements create an expressive background. Reeds improvisations always make spectacular, impressive and remarkable melodic section. Tenor saxophones by Lotte Anker and Evan Parker are energetic, luminous and expressive. Though the musicians are playing in different combos, their music still has much in common. Cosy, sweet and romantic melodies with simple rhythmic and classical chords is very uncommon for saxophonists. Both of them like brave, wild and impressive experiments in sounds, instrumentation, styles or expressions section. Crazy ideas, touching solos, growling, hot and sharp melodies, dramatic culminations, rigorous and furious scandals or roaring blow outs – the improvisations frequently have vigilente, aggressive and driving mood. It’s always keep the main melodic line. Lotte Anker plays a little bit more subtly – she gets to sudden sorrows or joyful rising, vivacious and bright melodies, dizzy passages or silent and peaceful excerpts. Evan Parker is much more rapid and expressive – he’s taking on turbulent, suggestive, vibrant and impressive solos made on the spot. Both musicians are marvelous improvisers – they create and keep driving and dynamic mood. Trumpet by Artur Majewsky is luminous, loud and vibrant. Expressions, colors, enchanting solos, dizzy passages, turbulent and marvelous energy’s explosions – all these elements bring vividness, drive, passion and energy to the music. Improviser creates charming instrumentation, combines roots and innovations of avant-garde jazz, gently fuse them with modern and contemporary jazz styles, experimental music and academic avant-garde. He’s not playing together with Johaness Bauer and his trombone, but still makes colorful, attractive and glorious mood of the compositions. Johaness Bauer is playing as a duo with Zlatko Kaučič. Trombonist has unique sound and inventive playing style. Blowings, sparkling roars, vibrant riffs, tremendous blow outs, deep, solemn and solid riffs – all these elements makes a solid melodic section, tight and deep bass line and extracts dozens of unusual timbres. Agusti Fernandez piano is a real bursts of energy. Here improviser plays by his unique, specific and hot playing style and its typical elements. He moves from soft relaxations to breaking and furious scandals, tiny and light pieces straightly to shrieky, hot, passionate and impressive culminations. Expressive and vivid melodies, filled with virtuosic ornaments and dizzy passages, gently go along with breaking rhythmic sessions, repetitive rhythms or chords sequences. It’s agressive, roaring and vibrant burst of energy, mixed up with warm, attractive, sensible, passionate and driving way of playing. Acoustic bass guitar by Rafał Mazur – energetic, deep and vibrant. Improviser tries out extended playing techniques, bright and evocative musical decisions, intense, shrieky, weird or outrageous timbres or special effects. The music is based on virageous, twisting, moving and active solos. Dynamic mood, passion, drive, expression and vividness – all these elements aregently combined with solemn, deep and tight bass line from repetitive tunes. Zlatko Kaučič leads thr drums and percussion section. He’s a masterful improviser and has wonderful and precise playing technique. Improviser puts together expressive melodies, bright and luminous riffs, roaring and trembling arpeggios, colorful and intense glissando, exotic combos, gorgeous timbres and interesting sounds of percussion. Drummer is the leader of all three different combos. He’s also is playing solo in two parts of this album. Wild, bright and moving collective improvisations withgreat jazz masters gives an opportunity to hear this musician in different images and combos. The music of this album is free, bright and expressive.

(Ernst Grgo Nebhuth)

More than 10 items in my 'new releases' list after negotiating really hard with myself.

New releases:

- Irene Aranda, Johannes Nästesjö, Núria Andorra – Inner Core (Relative Pitch)
- Tyshawn Sorey
- Pillars (Firehouse 12)
- Seppe Gebruers, Hugo Antunes, Paul Lovens – The Room: Time & Space (El Negocito)
- WLSFW – Featuring (Puzzlemusik)
- Cory Smythe – Circulate Susanna (Pyroclastic Records)
- Henry Threadgill – 14 or 15 Kestra: Agg
- Dirt... And More Dirt (Pi Recordings)
- Dörner - Fernández - Prats – Venusik (Multikulti Project)
- Konatus – Ethics (Mortvik)
- Okkyung Lee - Cheol-Kkot-Sae (Steel.Flower.Bird) (Tzadik)
- Dave Holland, Evan Parker, Craig Taborn and Ches Smith – Uncharted Territories (Dare2)
- Christian Lillingers GRUND — COR (Plaist Music)
- Kaja Draksler/Petter Eldh/Christian Lillinger - Punkt.Vrt.Plastik (Intakt)
- Philip Zoubek Trio – Outside (Why Play Jazz)
- Szilárd Mezei Vocal Ensemble – Amerika Szálló / Hotel America (Not Two)
- Zlatko Kaucic – Diversity (Not Two)(CD 4!)
- Patryk Zakrocki & Marcin Olak With Agustí Fernández – Spontaneous Chamber Music Vol. 2 (Fundacja Sluchaj!)
- Kaspar T. Toeplitz / Zeitkratzer – Agitation | Stagnation (Bocian)
- Christopher Fox: Topophony. WDR sinfonia orchester; conductor: Ilan Volkov; soloists: John Butcher; Thomas Lehn; Axel Dörner; Paul Lovens. (HatArt)
- Lonnie H

(Ernst Grgo Nebhuth)

WWW.JAZZ.PT, December 2018; Zlatko Kaucic: “Diversity” (Not Two Records) *****

In order to mark the 40 years of activity of Slovenian drummer and percussionist Zlatko Kaucic, Not Two Records has just released a five-disc box that combines live and studio recordings in which this permanent traveler (the scenes of improvisation and jazz (Italy, Italy, Spain, Portugal, Spain, Portugal, Spain, Portugal and Portugal), he is a trio with Agustí Fernández on piano and Evan Parker on tenor saxophone (CD 1 - Butterfly Wings) Kras "), an alto solo with his" ground "percussions and an electric zither (CD 3 -" Rainbow Solitude "), a quartet with Lotte Anker on alto and tenor soprano saxophones, Artur Majewski on trumpet and Rafal Mazur on (CD 4 - "Anima") and on CD 5 ("Med-Ana / Smartno Suita"), another pair of duets, first with trombonist Johannes Bauer and then with vocalist Phil Minton.

In the European context, few such as Kaucic contributed so much to the utopia of establishing a community of people who found in their differences a way of communicating, not an impediment to communication. "Diversity" is the reflection of this even with its transnational dimension, bringing together two Englishmen, two Poles, a Danish, a German and a Catalan to this native of Postojna, a village situated about thirty kilometers from Trieste. The songs we hear are, however, another common factor: they are raw, immediacy, fluid and intoxicating. It is natural that the attention is paid to the musician's partnerships with Evan Parker and what comes in the two initial discs of the box satisfy the most demanding expectations, but for this listener is "Anima" the great pearl of the set - the more collective, Zlatko Kaucic rejoices at the things that best characterize him: he is no longer in the place where he arrived at the moment when we realize that he is there, always opening the way to other constructive possibilities and taking everyone else with him . Another "must", for those who want to follow "the magnifying glass," is the opportunity provided by "Rainbow Solitude": even the foundations are on display. We have undoubtedly one of the most important editions of the year that ends ...

(Rui Eduardo Paes)

WWW.POINTOFDEPARTURE.ORG, December 2018; Zlatko Kaučič - 'Diversity' (Not Two, 2018)

Slovenian percussionist Zlatko Kaučič might not be a household name, even among diehard readers of PoD, but that really ought to change owing to the release of this superb 5CD collection of his music. Comprised of a series of performances over the last few years, it captures the 65-year-old drawing on decades of experience and collaboration in a series of vibrant settings.

The first disc finds him in the company of saxophonist Evan Parker and pianist Agusti Fernandez. Across the seven-part, hourlong “Butterfly Wings,” Kaučič conjures tiny wood sounds, or whooshes from callused palms. When there’s momentum and density, Kaučič often reminds me of Paul Lovens in his use of flat percussive sounds for contrast. He’s given to sharp slashing gestures, swells, and the like, many of which come not just from his just-so tuned kit but from his use of floor percussion – an array of metallophones and noisemakers. The piece moves from somewhat familiar free improvisation – dissonant cluster clouds all the way to hushed reserve – but also into mighty drones and places that seem like sizzling metal, owing largely to Kaučič’s distinctive use of the electric zither. Despite those moments when things seem about to tumble into overdrive, there’s subtlety throughout this hour.

The second disc consists of duos with Parker. They get things started in a compellingly reserved fashion. Parker moves in the dialed-back tenor style he often favors of late, while Kaučič resists developing momentum in favor of a series of changing interjections, usually in the middle of the timbral/dynamic spectrum. When Parker responds to these interjections, it fascinatingly results in a contrapuntal language that leads to some pretty heated moments. The second piece, which comprises nearly 1/3 of the concert, is quite spacious, filled with hushed brushes and tenor trills. There’s even a moment when it sounds as if they’re poised on the brink of serious mischief, when a Roach/Braxton soft-shoe feel leans precariously close to a Clusone-ish explosion. They cycle through what sounds almost like electroacoustic music to understated swing and a frothy, propulsive climax.

Significantly, some of the very finest music on this set comes from the third disc, Kaučič’s solo performance. In this studio shot from 2016, with 9 medium-length tracks, it’s interesting to think about how much of Kaučič’s approach in group settings derives from his solo performance. Unlike some percussion recitals, this one’s not a slog, and it doesn’t allow your attention to wander. “Drive Through Obstacles” opens with the kind of spacious pointillism you hear Kaučič use with Parker, but he supplements it with some gamelan-style pulse and electric zither madness. The low billowing cymbals on “Tonal Flow” bring to mind the spreading of ink in water. “Memories” and “Sip of Story” are raucous and show Kaučič’s range as an improviser and sound-generator, with organlike sounds, walls of metal noise, and clacking machinery. “Pokrovcek” is horror movie electronics with a bestiary of squeaks and whooshes, which gives way to the hushed, reflective tones on “My Home.” The relatively brief “Himna Za Mojo Teto Karlo” is like a 1970s space soundtrack jam, while “Predor” pairs the background hum of a wind tunnel with tightly tuned toms. Everything here is unfailingly dynamic, well-paced, and judicious.

The fourth disc features the largest ensemble in this box, a quartet with alto/soprano saxophonist Lotte Anker, trumpeter Artur Majewski, and bassist Rafal Mazur. Much of the playing here combines the severe aestheticism of Die Enttauschung with more textural, at times even minimalist gestures. In multiple places, this quartet favors a deep dive into droning, buzzing textures like those on “Iconic Thoughts” or “Jara Kaca.” Kaučič again sounds perfectly engaging just on brushes. But both Anker’s tart phrasing and Mazur’s acoustic bass guitar gives things a depth that’s pretty engaging, especially in the scrape-y opening minutes of “Nitke.” Anker has a real instinct for contrast, choosing lines or tones or textures that are meaningfully askance (although she proves that she’s a perfectly simpatico player in tussles with Majewski). In certain places, they seem almost like they’re assembling the building blocks for new elements. Hear this on the flinty “Unison Creation” and the understated, intense “Trte.”

The fifth and final disc is made up of two duos. First is the 4-part “Med-ana” with the late trombonist Johannes Bauer. Bauer’s marvelous techniques – ranging from deliberate punctuations to a wide vocabulary of slurs and drones – make for a fine contrast with Kaučič. Some sections are chirpy and stuttering, while others play with breath and texture. The two are perfectly simpatico, and one wishes for more from this duo. Then the box closes out with a 24-minute duet with vocalist Phil Minton. Minton can be hit or miss with me, depending roughly on the quotient of duck noises in any given performance. This is some of his best work I’ve heard of late. His gift for overtones and contained moaning works quite well with Kaučič’s whorls of sound. And when Kaučič turns to his floor percussion, Minton’s antic flutters fit just so.

It’s an awful lot of music, and of a consistently very high quality. You might come for the well-known players, but I promise you’ll end up impressed with Kaučič most of all.

(Jason Bivins)

DRAAIOMJEOREN.BLOGSPOT.COM, 27.11.18; Zlatko Kaučič - 'Diversity' (Not Two, 2018)

I must confess that the Slovenian percussionist Zlatko Kaučič was unknown to me until recently, even though he spent about 10 years in Amsterdam during his wanderings in Europe and is now seen as one of the most controversial percussionists. within the free improvisation. The fact that he is now mentioned here has to do with the fact that Polish Not Two Records released a box of 5 (!) CDs a few months ago. After 25 years of wandering, Kaučič went back to Slovenia, which had just become independent, in 1992, where his career as a professional musician finally took shape. 26 years later we hear where that led.

Kaučič turns out to be an innovative percussionist who does not limit himself to the standard instruments, something that also appears from the photographs in the booklet accompanying this set. With his very personal instrumentation he creates a remarkably rich and varied sound, for example the solo in 'Butterfly Wings II' on the first disc. It seems like we ended up in a workshop! Also beautiful how those sounds coincide with Evan Parker's game on tenor sax. Further on we also hear pianist Agustí Fernández in this special live set. Kaučič is more than a percussionist, he also plays the electronic zither, a kind of harp, but lying flat, from which he borrowed very ingenious soundfields, for example in 'Butterfly Wings IV', in duet with Parker. Parker and Fernández have known each other for some time and recorded their first album together in 1996. The first acquaintance with Kaučič dates back to later, but it appears from this album that the three can come to highly electrifying music. The energy splashes off.

On the second CD, 'Kras', we hear Kaučič and Parker in a duoset. What is special about this performance is the close collaboration between the two musicians and the way in which they both take on the role of supervisor and soloist. As if one is the shadow of the other. A highlight is the third piece. Parker blows an extremely fragile melody, with the characteristic features of him, while we hear Kaučič in the background with his cymbals and the electric zither, with which he produces an equally subtle soundbed. The third CD is a solo recording and gives us the opportunity to get a detailed picture of Kaučič 'qualities. A very varied disc too, thanks to the fact that Kaučič not only uses the percussion here, but also the zither. In 'Tonal Flow' it leads to a magical sound game, while in 'Memories' something disturbing resonates. The closing 'Mlin' also shows that this percussion percussionist also manages to create a complete sound world.

On the fourth CD we find live recordings of a quartet, in which we find next to Kaučič saxophonist Lotte Anker, trumpet player Artur Majewksi and guitarist Rafal Mazur on an acoustic bass guitar. This is probably the most free, most abstract in the entire set. The four musicians continuously circle each other, scan each other, react to each other, without any real harmony or melody. They remain abstract sound landscapes that rub against each other. A very fascinating and exciting concert full of unexpected turns. Without doubt one of the highlights of this box.

The last disc contains two duets, dating from 2012 and 2014. During the first duet we hear Kaučič with the trombonist Johannes Bauer who died in 2016, in the second we hear him in a long piece together with voice artist Phil Minton. The five pieces with Bauer, called 'Med-ana', are a miracle of subtlety. What Bauer managed to conjure up sounds from his trombone, bordered on the unbelievable: relatively normal game that reaches from almost crying high to deep growling low, but also a multitude of strange sounds that are played through all sorts of alternative techniques. It forms a beautiful unity with Kaučič 'percussion, often in the form of a special question-and-answer game. Minton and Kaučič form an equally surprising duo and together they exclude this very special box in a grand way

In de Jazztube zie je het optreden van Zlatko Kaučič en Evan Parker tijdens het Jazz & Wine Of Peace Festival 2016 in Cormons, Italië.

(Ben Taffijn)

WWW.FACEBOOK.COM, 9. september 2018; Zlatko Kaucic Diversity (5 CDs Box)

Short program today friends 'cause some gypsies are coming my way. Returning to this wonderful box of Slovenian percussionist Zlatko Kaučič - DIversity. I'm going to play cd 3,4 and 5. Cd 3 is a solo album on whick Zlatko plays ground drums, percussion and electronic zither. Cd 4 is a quartet with Lotte Anker, Artur Majewski and Rafal Mazur. Cd 5 are 2 duo performances: one with vocalist Phil Minton (see video), one with trombonist Johannes Bauer. Fantastic music! Have a great Sunday friends and hear you later!

(John Sax)

WWW.SOUNDOHM.COM, Zlatko Kaucic Diversity (5 CDs Box)

To celebrate the forty years of career of the Slovenian musician the label Not Two has now releases Diversity, a sumptuous box of five CDs recorded live and in studio in the company of the best of the old and new European avant-garde, with Evan Parker, Lotte Anker, Phil Minton, Rafal Mazur & Agusti Fernandez among others. Zlatko Kaucic is an elusive musician. When you expect him to be in a specific sound place, he is already somewhere else. Kaucic is a musician who has developed a very personal style both on drums and percussion, using the most disparate materials such as everyday objects, toys, an electrified zither, metals of various types. Listening to the different performances captured between 2012 and 2017, we easily get the exaltation of the ritual dimension of making music. Silence, sound, gesture. Absolute concentration and pleasure of the game. An aesthetic with harsh lyricism and sardonic humor, lover of strong contrasts, always at the service of the utopia of a community of people who can find the way to communicate thanks to differences and not in spite of these.

DNEVNIK, 15 luglio 2018; 4 desetletja Kaučičeve ustvarjalne solidarnosti

Zgodovina glasbenega ustvarjanja Zlatka Kaučiča se v vseh svojih povzemanjih umešča v napet dialog med lokalno stvarnost in univerzalno govorico improvizatorjev. Tako na primer briški tolkalec na goriškem vztraja vse od svoje vrnitve v komaj samostojno Slovenijo, kjer se je moral kako desetletje prebijati kljub takrat tako rekoč neobstoječi improvizatorski sceni ob zgolj ozkih pogledih na to, ime česa je »jazz«. Zlatko se sicer s tovrstnimi etiketami praviloma ne obremenjuje, kar ga je vedno postavljalo v dvoumen odnos tako do jazzovskega »glavnega toka«, kot nekaterih ozkih dojemanj »avantgarde«. Zato pa je ohranil živahen dialog z umetniki vseh vrst in se oprijel duha ustvarjalne solidarnosti, ki jo ves čas izpričuje v raznovrstnih projektih.

Da Kaučič vztraja na pomenu lokalnega in osebnega se kaže tako pri zvočnih analogijah kraške okolice, glasbenih dialogih s pesniško besedo, pedagoškem delu z mladimi glasbeniki in glasbenicami v delavnicah Zvočni izviri in medgenracijskih zasedbah Kombo, ali organizaciji mednarodnega festivala na Brdih, ki se ima zgoditi sredi tega meseca. A njegovo ustvarjanje se hkrati ne ozira na meje, kar nedvoumno izrazi v imenu Orkestra brez meja, organizaciji že omenjenega mednarodnega festivala, ter nenazadnje tudi z jubilejno izdaja zgovornega imena Diversity, Raznolikost.

Gre za sicer že drugo obletniško izdajo, kar je že samo po sebi dosežek: praznovati jubileje, a vseeno ostati vitalen in v gibanju. Ob 30-letnici je s serijo kasneje na zgoščenkah izdanih koncertov Kaučič zaznamoval delovanje tako v manjših zasedbah, kot svojo angažiranost v večjih projektih na križišču skladateljskega dela in improvizacije. Deset let kasneje je poudarek v celoti na improvizaciji, ki v paketu petih plošč prinaša izbrane koncertne posnetke zadnjih let ter, že četrtič v svojem opusu, studijski solo.

Raznolikost, ki jo v ustvarjanju praznuje Kaučič, se tokrat ne nanaša na paleto sodelujočih imen, četudi v mednarodnih zasedbah najdemo same vrhunske glasbenike in glasbenico, pač pa v ospredje postavlja zvočne podrobnosti posameznih zasedb. Tako na uvodnem posnertku tria z Evanom Parkerjem (saksofon) in Augustí Fernándezom (klavir) s festivala Neposlušno, predstavi sedemdelno zgradbo barvite zvočnosti, dosežene predvsem skozi drobne zvočne kombinacije in dialoge, ki se odtegujejo tonalnosti in se gibljejo na meji tišine. Paradoksno pa si vsaj toliko zvočnih variacij privošči v duetu z istim saksofonistom, posnetim v Italijanski Gorici, a tokrat z močnim solističnim podtonom, kjer marsikdaj glasbenika drug drugemu pustita maksimalen prostor za razvitje posameznih idej in se izogibata dialoški igri. Plošča omenjenega dueta, naslovljena Kras, tako veliko bolj stavi na počasno in zvezno grajenje zvoka, kot enostavno konfrontacijo dveh instrumentalistov.

V tem smislu duo s Parkerjem v osrednjem delu nekako napove tretjo ploščo zgovornega naslova Rainbow Solitude, ki je sama prikaz aktualnega stanja ustvarjalca, ko se za paleto zvočil in bobnov znajde sam. V samoti namreč še najdlje razvije celotno mavrico svoje že znano melodično poudarjene igre. Ta je tokrat še posebej bučna ob uporabi električnih citer, katerih tonalnost se zabriše v distorziji in porazgubi med ostalimi tolkali, tako da je marsikdaj kar težko verjeti, da poslušamo solističen izdelek. V preostanku paketa se znajde še večja zasedba z edino žensko izvajalko, mlado švedsko saksofonistko Lotte Anker, s katero Kaučič zaigra v kvartetu, ter dueta s Philom Mintonom in vmes preminulim trombonistom Johannesom Bauerjem.

Diversity pride opremljen z intervjujema, ki do podrobnosti osvetlita nekatere anekdote in nauke štirih desetletij ustvarjanja, ter podrobno spremno besedo, sam prisluh pa vabi k pozornemu poslušanju v dostopni, humorni, a hudo osredotočeni igri improvizacije v razgibanih odtenkih.

GLASBA Zlatko Kaučič z: Lotte Naker, Johannes Bauer, Augustí Fernández, Artur Majewski, Rafał Mazur, Phil Minton, Evan Parker
Diversity (Not Two, 2018)

(Aleš Rojc)

IL MANIFESTO, 15 luglio 2018; 40 anni di improvvisazione in studio e dal vivo

Note sparse. L'imprendibile Zlatko Kaucic e un musicista che ha sviluppato uno stile personale sia alla batteria che alle percussioni. Lo dimostra nel suo ultimo progetto «Diversity»

Zlatko Kaucic e un musicista imprendibile. Quando te lo aspetti in un luogo sonoro lui e gia da un’altra parte. E la scuola della musica improvvisata europea e del jazz piu radicale: sii te stesso. Come facevano Armstrong, Parker, Ornette, Lacy. Kaucic e un musicista che ha sviluppato uno stile molto personale sia alla batteria che alle percussioni. Utilizza i materiali piu disparati come oggetti di uso quotidiano, giocattoli, una cetra elettrificata, metalli di vario tipo. Per festeggiare i quarant’anni di carriera del musicista sloveno l’etichetta Not Two ha editato Diversity, un sontuoso cofanetto di cinque cd registrati dal vivo e in studio in compagnia del meglio della vecchia e nuova avanguardia europea: Lotte Anker, Johannes Bauer, Agusti Fernandez, Artur Majewski, Rafał Mazur, Phil Minton, Evan Parker.

L’ascolto delle diverse performance catturate tra il 2012 e il 2017 ci consegna l’esaltazione della dimensione rituale del fare musica. Silenzio, suono, gesto. Concentrazione assoluta e piacere del gioco. Un’estetica dal lirismo aspro e dall’umorismo sardonico, amante dei forti contrasti, sempre al servizio dell’utopia di una comunita di persone che sa trovare il modo di comunicare grazie alle differenze e non a dispetto di queste.

Premiato nel 2011 con il Prešern Fund Award, il piu importante riconoscimento in campo culturale sloveno, Kaucic e un musicista creativo ma anche un tenace combattente culturale e un organizzatore visionario: «In Slovenia nel 1992 c’erano tutti quei bunker fatti costruire da Tito in previsione di un attacco nucleare da parte dell’Unione Sovietica. Con l’indipendenza furono riconvertiti in centri sociali. Vi si suonava punk soprattutto. Quella volta i punk odiavano il jazz ma io un poco alla volta sono riuscito a farlo accettare. A Strelisce ho aperto un club underground nel quale si faceva musica, cinema e poesia. Dal 2011 organizzo il Brda Contemporary Music Festival nel piccolo paese di Šmartno. Li faccio sempre dei laboratori con i grandi improvvisatori europei e li faccio incontrare con i giovani. Ci sono venuti Evan Parker, Trevor Watts, Phil Minton, Ab Baars, Joëlle Léandre, Saadet Türköz, Tristan Honsiger. Cerco sempre di stimolare i musicisti a mettersi in gioco, rischiare e sperimentare. Non voglio che ci sia musica composta, preparata o provata prima. Solo musica improvvisata. Abbiamo avuto problemi economici ma teniamo duro. Io sono un tipo testardo!

IL MANIFESTO, Quarant’anni di improvvisazione in studio e dal vivo

JAZZ Quarant’anni di improvvisazione in studio e dal vivo Zlatko Kaucic e un musicista imprendibile. Quando te lo aspetti in un luogo sonoro lui e gia da un’altra parte. E la scuola della musica improvvisata europea e del jazz piu radicale: sii te stesso. Come facevano Armstrong. Parker, Ornette, Lacy. Kaucic e un musicista che ha sviluppato uno stile molto personale sia alla batteria che alle percussioni. Utilizza i materiali piu disparati come oggetti di uso quotidiano.

giocattoli, una cetra elettrificata. metalli di vario tipo. Per festeggiare i quarant’anni di carriera del musicista sloveno l’etichetta Not Two ha editato Diversity, un sontuoso cofanetto di cinque cd registrati dal vivo e in studio in compagnia del meglio della vecchia e nuova avanguardia europea: Lotte Anker, Johannes Bauer, Agusti Femandez, Artur Majewski, Rafal Mazur, Phil Minton, Evan Parker.

l'ascolto delle diverse performance catturate tra il 2012 e il 2017 ci consegna l'esaltazione della dimensione rituale del fare musica. Silenzio, suono, gesto. Concentrazione assoluta e piacere del gioco. Un'estetica dal lirismo aspro e dall’umorismo sardonico, amante dei forti contrasti, sempre al servizio dell’utopia di una comunita di persone che sa trovare il modo di comunicare grazie alle differenze e non a dispetto di queste.

premiato nel 2011 con il Prešern Fund Award, il piu importante riconoscimento in campo culturale sloveno. Kaucic e un musicista creativo ma anche un tenace combattente culturale e un organizzatorevisionario: «In Slovenia nel 1992 c’erano tutti quei bunker fatti costruire da Tito in previsione di un attacco nucleare da parte dell’Unione Sovietica. Con l’indipendenza furono riconvertiti in centri sociali. Vi si suonava punk soprattutto. Quella volta i punk odiavano il jazz ma io un poco alla volta sono riuscito a farlo accettare. A Strelisce ho aperto un club underground nel quale si faceva musica, cinema e poesia. Dal 2011 organizzo il Brda Contemporary Music Festival nel piccolo paese di Smartno. Li faccio sempre dei laboratori con i grandi improvvisatori europei e li faccio incontrare con i giovani.

Ci sono venuti Evan Parker. Trevor Watts, Phil Minton, Ab Baars, Joelle Léandre, Saadet Turkoz. Tristan Honsiger. Cerco sempre di stimolare i musicisti a mettersi in gioco, rischiare e sperimentare. Non voglio che ci sia musica composta, preparata o provata prima. Solo musica improvvisata. Abbiamo avuto problemi economici ma teniamo duro.

Io sono un tipo testardo!