Wednesday, June 8, 2016

Manfred Schoof Quintet - 1976 - Scales

Manfred Schoof Quintet

01. Scales 10:38
02. Ostinato 12:46
03. For Marianne 7:01
04. Weep And Cry 10:14
05. Flowers All Over 7:36

Manfred Schoof - Trumpet, Flugelhorn
Michel Pilz - Bass Clarinet
Jasper Van't Hof - Piano, Electric Piano, Organ
Günter Lenz - Bass
Ralf Hübner - Drums

The title track of Scales opens both album and set with a primal trumpet cry. It is Schoof’s calling card: a rip in the ether from which flows undeniable light. Van ‘t Hof poeticizes this light from a place beyond waking. And indeed, the more instruments are added, the dreamier the music becomes. Over time, Pilz’s gorgeous rasp adds tactility, so that surreal gestures begin to feel familiar. Pilz stands out also in “Ostinato,” which finds him sharing a stepwise ground line with Lenz. We are so fully mired in this swampy unison that when he breaks free from the waves, his voice feels like a shaded benediction in what is easily among the finest tracks in the ECM archive. Van ‘t Hof’s organ drone is also notable here. Over it drums seem to describe abandoned castles, stone by stone, until they loom before us unscathed by time. The keyboardist provides deep color shifts throughout the program, evoking early Steve Kuhn vis–à–vis electric piano in “For Marianne” and spacy atmospheres in “Weep And Cry.” The former’s cloud rolls give Schoof vast chromatic freedom, while the latter evokes sunset before cooling into a twilit canopy, now alive as the darkness reveals its dance through the bass clarinet. The scene closes its eyes with “Flowers All Over” in the album’s most joyous music. Schoof rides a harmonic dolphin, plunging variously into intuitive digs, likewise inspiring Pilz to grand emotional heights.

Tyran Grillo

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