Wednesday, May 9, 2018

Free Jazz Group Wiesbaden - 1971 - Frictions Now

Free Jazz Group Wiesbaden 
Frictions Now

01. Frictions Now Part 1 17:16
02. Frictions Now Part 2 18:34

Recorded on July 9, 1971 at Walldorf Studio, Walldorf, Germany.

Alto Saxophone, Oboe, Piano, Flute [Shepherd Flute], Bells – Dieter Scherf
Drums – Wolfgang Schlick
Guitar, Flute – Gerhard König
Trumpet – Michael Sell

FJGW consisted of Michael Sell (trumpet), Dieter Scherf (saxophones, oboe, piano, flutes, Shenai, trumpet), Dieter König (guitars, flutes) and Wolfgang Schlick (drums, percussion) and in the four years of its existence (1968 - 1972) the quartet recorded two albums. Frictions was released as an edition of 300 vinyl records on a private label in 1969 (the same year there was a second edition of 200). Then there was Frictions Now, the band’s sophomore album,which was recorded in 1971 and released as a limited edition of 500 vinyl records. Both albums are hard to get and even if you were lucky you would have to pay fantasy prices

The later recording, though freer and certainly more free-flowing, sounds equally well thought through, if not mapped out. “Frictions Now Part I” is focused, tempered and nuanced. It begins with König’s thrumming away like a bass beneath a freewheeling commingle of brass and reeds, all kept airborne by regular bass drum detonations and a welter of cymbal skims. Collective intensity is maintained throughout a performance that arcs from ardour to vehemence.

“Frictions Now Part II” is cooler but still intense, with an apparent AACM/Art Ensemble influence at first, particularly in König and Scherf’s early use of flute, then closer to the more combative Free Music Production (FMP) aesthetic. While the AACM in America and Free Jazz Group Wiesbaden were direct contemporaries, the latter’s fusion of free jazz and world music is distinctly their own, and this piece, which is increasingly focused on the grain of individual frictions, pure sound as noise, actually sounds contemporary today.

Nearing a conclusion, König’s tempered guitar solo with thematic trumpet accompaniment adds a Morricone-esque twist, but Scherf’s impassioned saxophony fires things up again, reprising the ardour and open intensity of “Frictions Part 1”.

After FJGW disbanded 1973, Scherf ran a short-lived trio with Paul Lovens and Jacek Bednarek (their only recording, Inside-Outside Reflections, was reissued in 2005 on Atavistic). Meanwhile Schell increasingly focused on composition, releasing music through his own MISP-Records imprint. Other details are hard to come by, König being represented on Discogs by only a single 1981 date backing vocalist Jürgen Albers.

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