Reviews that mention Wolfgang Fuchs
April 3, 2011
1, 2, 4, 3
Perhaps it’s the because of a longer and more genteel recital tradition, but while improvisers such as the United Kingdom’s Rhodri Davies and France’s Hélène Breschand have forged unique microtonal and multiphonic roles for the concert or Celtic harp, as far as most music followers are concerned, in North America only Zeena Parkins is involved with similar multi-string experiments. Well, not quite.
Anne LeBaron, who teaches at the California Institute of the Arts in Valencia, and is best-known as a composer of operas and other New music celebrating fantastic figures such as Pope Joan, Marie Laveau, and the American Housewife, has a parallel career as a harpist. LeBaron’s forays have included recordings with Jazz and/or Free Musicians such as pianist Muhal Richard Abrams and reedist Wolfgang Fuchs and his King Übü Örchestrü. This two-CD set consists of notable improvisations from eight different sessions between 2002 and 2010. MORE
February 13, 2008
Galatina Records CD 0701
True to Butch Morris’ declaration that he wants to work with more than jazz-oriented improvisers, this notable two-CD set finds the New York-based conduction pioneer performing two new ideographic-oriented pieces with the Italian Ensemble Laboratorio Novamusica (ELN).
Considering that the eight-piece Venice-based ensemble was organized more than 15 years ago with the express purpose of researching, studying and performing New music, the fit with Morris is near perfect. Still, the second of these CDs, recorded at Berlin’s Total Music Meeting (TMM) is superior to the first disc taken from a Venice concert three days earlier. On both discs, the ELN – trumpeter Ilich Fenzi, trombonist Umberto de Nigris, Cecilia Vendrasco playing different flutes, violist Piergabriele Mancuso, bassist Andrea Carlon, drummer Peter Gallo, Carlo Carratelli on upright piano and harpsichord plus director Giovanni Mancuso on piano – operates at an enviably high level following Morris’ complex system of signs and gestures. However all concerned seem particularly energized at the TMM. Perhaps it’s because of the location, or maybe it’s because a choir of bass clarinetists – Armand Angster, Peter van Bergen, Wolfgang Fuchs and Hans Koch – joins the band for the final two numbers. MORE
October 2, 2006
Live@Total Music Meeting 2004- Facetten
By Ken Waxman
A duo appetizer and a duo desert frame the full-course meal that is displayed in a solo piano tour-de-force, as this souvenir of 2004s Total Music Meeting serves up a meal of memorable Flemish-German nourishment.
Long time chefs in the EuroImprov tradition, Berlins Wolfgang Fuchs and Antwerps Fred Van Hove have cooked together with or without various sous chefs over the past couple of decades. Due to bass clarinetist Fuchss less-than-perfect health, however, their interaction on this CD was limited to a less-than-12-minute duet on Chess!, where the Belgian plays single-manual harpsichord; and the too short fewer-than-six minutes and aptly titled Desert. On the last Fuchss alley-cat slinky bass clarinet squeals are matched with Van Hoves bellow-vibrating accordion. But the overall effect is more like a mid-course amuse gueule than some hearty end-of-meal sweet. MORE
September 19, 2005
Balance Point Acoustics BPA 008
Ratascan BRD 052
Part of the accelerating interchange between experimental musicians from Europe and the United States, multi-reedman Wolfgang Fuchs of Berlin has become a regular transatlantic commuter.
Known for his leadership of the King ÃbÃ¼ OrchestrÃ¼ and the all-reed Holz FÃ¼r Europa group, these discs find Fuchs heading even further out. Thatâs a geographic reference â for the CDs were recorded with two different sets of associates in Californiaâs Bay area during a productive visit by Fuchs in 2003. MORE
September 7, 2005
Gradually returning to fiscal health its artistic vigor has never been in doubt the 37th annual Total Music Meeting will take place November 3 to November 6 at the Berlinische Galerie Landesmuseum für Moderne Kunst, Fotografie und Architektur in Berlins now fashionable Kreuzberg.district. Concerts begin at 8 pm and feature three to four performances each night.
Although the program has not yet been officially announced, participants definitely include British saxophonists John Butcher and Evan Parker; Americans like trumpeter Wadada Leo Smith and drummer Gino Robair, the Loos ensemble from the Netherlands; the trio of Swiss saxophonist Urs Leimgruber, American bassist Barre Phillips and French pianist Jacques Demierre and German musicians like trumpeter Axel Dörner, drummer Günter Baby Sommer and multi-reedist Wolfgang Fuchs. Attendance per night is usually in the 300 person range. MORE
February 14, 2005
Mit dem NMUI in SO 36 79
GROB 650/OBCD 10
More than an artifact, but less than a discographical revelation, this CD restores to circulation one of the Berlin-based label FMPs few 45-rpm singles. Released in the mid-1980s, that platter contained a 12-minute selection from this concert. Restored to its nearly 78½-minute length, the full-length CD offers a peek at eight, first generation Euroimprovisers during their transition from Free Jazzers to Free Musicians.
While there are many moments of unbridled excitement and tongue-in-cheek humor here, the rational for releasing the truncated single is obvious as well. Sounding most of the time like participants in a high-class House Rent party, there are points at which it seems that the musicians really do play whatever comes into their heads. Lacking focus and clarity, you have to hear the disc as a particularized soundscape of its time -- 1979 -- and place -- Berlin. MORE
July 26, 2004
Reify Recordings RE 001
Creating a vehicle in which a larger group of musicians can participate in non-idiomatic improvisation has been one European conception that has only recently absorbed in North American.
Even so, most large improvising ensembles on this continent usually draw their organizational structure from Free Jazz. Thats why this CD, by a mixture of Europeans and Americans, is so memorable. Pooling memories and experience and without relying on call and response, vamps or raucous solos work, the eight players create something thats firmly in the atmospheric EuroImprov heritage, yet adds something of its own to the seven instant compositions named for their duration. MORE
June 9, 2003
Live at the Total Music Meeting 2002
JOE FONDA/XU FENGXIA
Leo Lab CD 069
There may be more than one billion people in China, including a goodly collection of pop music stars and classical music interpreters, but so far the country has yet to produce one major -- or even middling -- free improviser.
By sheer force of numbers and the societys gradual liberalization, that lack will eventually be rectified. But right now, at least on the evidence of these CDs, the person coming closest to the ideal is Xu Fengxia, the Shanghai-born guzheng player who has lived in Germany since 1991. MORE
April 26, 2002
Entropy Stereo Recordings 007
WOLFGANG FUCHS/JEROME BRYERTON/DAMON SMITH
Three October Meetings
Balance Point Acoustics BPA 003
Except for misguided xenophobes, no one still insists that the best improvised music is played by Americans in the United States. Yet while jazz and improv are now as universal as soft drinks and computers, a transformation still seems to take place when foreign musicians play with Yanks on their home turf.
Take these two masterful sessions for instance. Woodwind players Luc Houtkamp of Holland and Wolfgang Fuchs of Germany link up with a different set of bassists and percussionists in Chicago and the Bay area respectively and produce some uncharacteristically hard-edged sounds. Houtkamp, who revels in modulated alto sax interactions tempered with electronics, comes up with a paraphrase of a midwestern tough tenor showcase on his disc. While Fuchs, whose work in small groups and with his large King Übü Orchestrü often produce sounds so rarified and vaporous that they make other restrained players appear to be creating Death Metal riffs, is upfront and in your face on his three horns here. MORE
September 3, 2001
FMP CD 117
The first question that suggests itself when faced with a self-contained, nearly 69 minute EuroImprov session like this is how do nine musicians play so quietly for such a long time? The second question is why do they do so?
Both queries can be answered the same way. King Übü's music is all about collective improvisation, not soloing, so the best way to deflect individualism is to create at such low volume that sounds merge into an organic whole.
The best parallel to what goes on here could be those immense poster-like pictures created by the masses in Chinese stadiums. Individually the portion of the illustration each person holds resembles nothing much, but when the thousands of pieces are put together, a mammoth poster results. MORE
August 13, 2001
Wood, metal, skin and circuitry are the components that make up Lingua. Yet what this trio of two German and one Italian is able to produce with these simple elements is convincing because the veteran improvisers play the instruments rather than letting them play them.
That might seem like a truism. But despite all the wiring involved from drummer Fabrizio Spera's electronics and Thomas Lehn's analog synthesizer, and unlike many other so-called electronica combos, you're still conscious of the human conception that goes into creating the sound. MORE