Ken Vandermark | Matthias Muche | Thomas Lehn | Martin Blume

Label: Jazzwerkstatt
Format: CD
Barcode: 4250317420756
Catalog number: JW 219
Live concerts have become a rarity in times of Corona. For a music form that practically 'lives' from improvisation and interaction, a special magic emanates from concerts: They are an audiovisual experience. On this recording, you can't see the musicians, but you can feel their energy and imagine them playing together and communicating and listening to each other.

SOUNDBRIDGES was recorded on September 24, 2021 as part of the 'Ruhr Jazz Festival' at the Bochum Art Museum. Sharing the stage that evening were four musicians whose paths have crossed several times over the decades: Ken Vandermark, Matthias Muche, Thomas Lehn and Martin Blume. And the fun they are having is audible. They go straight into full swing, as if they had a world to win: Shouts on the saxophone and trombone are amplified by driving rhythms and analog synthesizer sounds.

One free jazz attack follows the next. After four minutes things suddenly quiet down again – the calm after the storm. Signal tones 'from outer space', abruptly interrupted by loud noise and threatening feedbacks, meet tonal fissures and overtones accompanied by the discreet beating on drums, bells and various other objects. It continues like this for the next 50 minutes, constantly fluctuating between the calm and dynamic parts, without ever losing its footing. And then culminates in a loud explosion, which after 35 minutes functions like a sound bridge that keeps the music flowing.
Even though there are almost no guidelines, the four musicians don't move in a vacuum. They are able to draw on shared experiences from the stage and studio. The present concert also marks the end of a short tour. And as is so often the case with improvised music, the other concerts continue to resonate here: The interplay is intuitive, creating a delicate, yet complex sound structure that is held together by an imaginary band.

The title SOUNDBRIDGES, by the way, is a reference to a technique known from the cinema. It involves semantic and referential dynamics, as well as the acceleration and superimposition of different scenes – or in the case of the music, different pieces. The titles not only allude to cinematic archetypes – The Thirty-Nine Steps is an hom-age to Hitchcock's film of the same name – they also play with the technique: Aperture, Arc Shot or Overlapping Edges. The transitions are correspondingly fluid and there are hardly any breaks. Instead, a simultaneousness is created, even as the next radical turn resounds: The Echo connects the past with the future while leaving listeners space to develop their own (audio) visions. A sequel is strongly welcome!