Peter A. Schmid

Contrabassics
Unit UTR 4960

Following a series of discs over the past couple of decades improvising alongside reedists such as Evan Parker and Vinny Golia, Swiss low-pitched stylist Peter A. Schmid widens his reach to sessions with other instrumentalists. On the 13 tracks here he’s part of trios and duos with Continental associates, trombonist Nils Wogram, pianist Roger Girod, bassist Dominique Girod and bass flutist Matthias Ziegler. Schmid adapts the textures from contrabass saxophone, contrabass flute, contrabass clarinet and C-Bassax according to the circumstances.

While individual duets with Ziegler and Wogram are appealing, contrasting in the first case Schmid’s waddling hippo-like flattement and Ziegler’s Jew’s harp-like twangs or capillary brass puffs harmonized with subterranean reed slurs, the trio sequences are more salient. With the pianist’s atmosphere chording and fluid vamps plus the bassist’s thickened plops, savory harmony is established. Girod’s judicious use of inner soundboard echoes and conciliatory bounces impart a near swing-ballad feel which maintains chromatic impetus through elevated tempo changes and Schmid’s slurping variations and sprightly tongue actions.

With Ziegler’s deepened output also creating a continuum, the trombone-reed interaction can reach cadenced swing. Alternately dulcet and dissonant, Wogram’s pumps and stops not only offer sophisticated capillary asides, but also passages featuring plunger work, tailgate excitement and vocalized yelps. In response Schmid slides between clarinets and saxophones. He provides a steadying bottom to the trombonist’s brassy leaps or more frequently uses snorting and snarling for colorful linear challenges and interconnections.

A more multi-hued tonal and expansive picture of the veteran Swiss player’s skills, Contrabassics’ appeal will be far wider than just to woodwind or flute fanciers.

—Ken Waxman

Track Listing: 1, Contrabones #1* 2. Slapsticks #8^ 3. Saitenwind #1+ 4. Triology #1+~ 5. Windtrio #1 *^ 6. Windtrio #2*^ 7. No secrets in the Family+~ 8. Windtrio #3^ 9. Windtrio #4*^ 10. Saitenwind #2+ 11. Slapsticks #*9 12. Contrabones # 13. Andantes

Personnel: Nils Wogram (trombone)*; Peter A. Schmid (contrabass saxophone, contrabass flute, contrabass clarinet, C-Bassax); Matthias Ziegler (bass and contrabass flute) ^; Roger Girod (piano) + and Dominique Girod (bass)