April 8, 2021

Plays Matthias Muche
Impakt 016

Just as irregularly shaped pieces of a jigsaw puzzle fit together to become a complete picture so too do this trio’s interpretations of three of trombonist Matthias Muche’s compositions. Based in Köln and part of many ensembles with, Carl Ludwig Hübsch and others, these adaptations are animated by the cooperation of German bassist Constantin Herzog, who has played with Oxana Omelchuk, Pascal Niggenkemper and others plus the extended snare drum) wizardry of Dutch-native Etienne Nillesen who associates include Axel Dörner.

Consistently it’s sophisticated double bass string stops or expansions and the stick clattering or drum top rubs of Nillesen which amplify and unify the expositions first designated by Muche’s vibrating slurs or slides. With clenched tongue stabs or extended resonations, the trombonist’s themes mix impulses from high and low pitches and narratives that advance at speeds ranging from largo to presto and all those in between. Creating a stable adjustment to avoid unneeded dissonance or pauses, as he does on “Punkt Linie” Herzog contrasts arco swipes at the scroll top with staccato triple tonguing or Nillesen’s bottom pops give context to Muche’s tailgate extensions.

While the others’ weighted sound considerations are necessary to realize his visions, the trombonist’s initial lines and technical command is crucial as well. Bass string drones and wood and rim clapping impulses provide the fine tuned metrical decorations. But whether it’s balloon-like inflating of pure air into a trilling motif or slipping from constricted echoes and distant runs into an emotional and melodic narrative as he does on “Gleiter” to lead into an adagio swing sequence, Muche directs by asserting tripartite cooperation.

Notable playing and arrangement have gone into the disc which also proves that done correctly all the colors needed for a full musical picture can come from three players.

–Ken Waxman

Track Listing: 1. Punkt Linie 2. Glocken 3. Gleiter

Personnel: Matthias Muche (trombone): Constantin Herzog (bass) and Etienne Nillesen (extended snare drum)