recorded by dylan van der schyff at consolidated works, seattle, october 4, 2005 except for
(1) recorded at yardbird suite, edmonton, september 24
(5), (7), (8) at first christian church, portland (OR), october 3
(9) at arraymusic studio, toronto, september 27
(13) recorded by malachi ritscher at claudia cassidy theater (chicago cultural center) on october 2
RT 9329 (2006)
Achim Kaufmann - piano
1. Sole to Soul [2:11]
all compositions by Achim Kaufmann, except
Although this is our first trio cd, kamosc in effect already has its own history: from the first time I invited Dylan to play with my quartet (January 2002), to his recording date for Songlines (The Definition of a Toy) where we recorded two improvised trio pieces, to our European tour in the spring of 2004. Tunes were brought in, some dropped, others picked up again later, and sometimes we would just extemporize. I can't imagine anyone else other than Michael and Dylan playing this music, as I largely based my compositions on the way we improvise together. We rarely improvise "on forms", rather we spontaneously create forms from the core elements of a piece, and sometimes we deviate from the piece altogether.
Some of the material I brought is perhaps more blatantly "traditional" than anything else I have previously written: New Orleans jazz, archaic funk... I am not so much interested in deconstructing these idioms or in using irony; rather, I wanted to include them as part of the musical picture this trio likes to paint, to bring them into the vicinity of more "abstract" playing to show that these worlds can co-exist.
I am very happy to see this music released and would like to thank Michel Passaretti for making it possible.
Achim Kaufmann, February 2006
Troy Collins - All About JazzJerry D'Souza - All About Jazz
Blurring the boundary lines between jazz and classical music, German-born pianist Achim Kaufmann draws from a variety of styles as this improvising trio's founder and principal writer. Recorded at various locations while on tour, both in and out of the studio, Kamosc features an amalgam of European folk traditions, contemporary chamber music, primitive funk, blues and even Dixieland, providing these skeletal tunes with an abundance of history to draw from.
The album and tour were initially conceived by Kaufmann after collaborating with multi-instrumentalist Michael Moore and percussionist Dylan van der Schyff on the latter's recent quintet recording, Definition of a Toy (Songlines, 2005). Both long-term Amsterdam residents, Moore and Kaufmann have a shared history behind them, and Moore is a current member of Kaufmann's quartet.
As a member of the ICP Orchestra, Moore has also spent time with trombonist Wolter Wierbos, and it shows in their hearty interaction on Wierbos' two guest spots. Vancouver's Dylan van der Schyff is quickly becoming a ubiquitous presence, capable of handling both free and structured situations in equal measure, and his colorful contributions to this trio effort far exceed mere timekeeping.
Blending genres and styles, these compositions veer from austere reflection and experimental interplay to spasmodic flight. Pieces like “Sole to Soul” and ”Skimble-Scamble” espouse casual free play, the latter featuring Wierbos buzzing and blaring alongside Moore during its agitated segments, which come and go without warning. “Scaremongers” showcases Moore's most outré playing on the record, and his fluttering, tongue-slapping alto sax seizure is an album highlight. The hazy, atmospheric ballad “Cuk” rides a dramatic arc, and “Corybant” employs fleet call and response with intuitive group interaction.
Embracing traditional notions of structure, “Kopfspinnennetz” is a loose, swinging vehicle for Moore's Giuffre-like clarinet, shimmying over van der Schyff's sprightly accents and Kaufmann's abstract interjections. Riding an abstracted funky blues vamp, “Roadside” features Moore playing melodica, while Kaufmann drives the piece with a determined left hand. The album closes with the deconstructed New Orleans vibe of “Bouche Perdue.”
An intriguing mix of styles from an international cast, Kamosc is small-group improvisation at its most sensitive and responsive.
Kamosc is the first recording by Achim Kaufmann, Michael Moore and Dylan van der Schyff, three improvisers who are known to let their imaginations rove in their music. However, the name of the band is a more formal invention: they've taken the first two letters of their last names and strung them together.
This music was recorded during the trio’s 2005 fall tour of Canada and the US. It goes into many spheres, but the basic compositional motif was created by Kaufmann based on the empathy they had created and shared over the years. The music can be edgy, intense or spare—and while there is melody and swing and some funky stuff, there is also plenty of abstract art that infuses the recording with not only depth, but unharnessed freedom as well.
Kamosc turns form inside out. It can happen in the way these players develop a tune. “Bouche Perdue” has an instant sense of improvisation; Kaufmann explores the piano introspectively, van der Schyff adds shuffling accents on the drums and Moore brings in the clarinet, swaying sweetly, only to tweeter off into another domain to add sharp accents, before returning to the modulations of the melody and swing.
Wolter Wierbos adds impact on the two tracks he appears on. His trombone cries in anguish, sounds throttled, and lets loose only in a strangled cry. His dialogue with Moore on “The Cyans” is low-key as the two circle each other; one animated voice comes from van der Schyff, who accents with authority yet sparingly enough so as not to tilt the mood. There is an Old World charm to “Blue-Brailled,” where Moore glows on the melody. The use of time and space by this group is exemplary, especially when Kaufmann plays, his notes creating enticing filigrees, a solid amalgam of time and space.
Stephen Griffith - Paris Transatlantic (oct 2006)Ken Waxman - CODA Issue 330
These thirteen musical vignettes were recorded on the trio's tour last fall through the US Pacific Northwest, Chicago and Toronto. The group previously appeared as an interesting subset of players on drummer van der Schyff's Songlines release, The Definition of a Toy, in which two tantalizingly brief trio episodes were placed amidst more lushly conceived compositions. The songs here are mostly by pianist Achim Kaufmann, who's a hard player to hard to pin down, though he has Misha Mengelberg's ability to seamlessly shift between styles and knack for "where have I heard that before" melodies. There are a few collective improvs, including two with trombonist Wolter Wierbos, whose presence initially seems to disturb the band's equilibrium until all parties eventually converge for a spirited blowout. Other pieces are more brooding; "Roadside", for instance, begins quietly with Kaufmann's insistently repeated motif, Moore's counter-figure on melodica and van der Schyff's cymbal slashes; the tension keeps building, until finally Moore switches to alto for a moment of relief. It's an admirable display of the trio's ability to smoothly go from a barely perceptible tempo to frenzy and back in a short space of time. Kaufmann and van der Schyff are in excellent form, and Moore in particular is outstanding: his playing has never received the plaudits it deserves (an occupational Clusone hazard of being the relative calm between hurricanes Han and Ernst), but his work here is absolutely stunning: listen to how, at the end of "Corybant", he takes the melody apart in a Lacy-like manner, or to his Jimmy Giuffre-like clarinet on tracks like "Ghosts at the Foot" and "Cuk".–
Flexible and inventive in his playing, Vancouver percussionist Dylan van der Schyff uses his rhythmic muscle to keeps this session properly focused.
Recorded in two Canadian and two American cities during a 2005 tour by this European-North American trio – plus guest Dutch trombonist Wolter Wierbos on two tracks – the drummer’s skill is such that he reins in German pianist Achim Kaufman and American reedist Michael Moore when they seem to become a bit too romantically cloying in their contributions.
Both based in Amsterdam, and veterans of bands like the ICP Orchestra (Moore) and the Astronotes (Kaufmann), these versatile players are as familiar with notated as improvised music. But on pieces like “Roadside” and “Kopfspinnennetz” if not for the drummer’s clinking cymbals and woodblock smacks respectively, the organic keyboard patterning and trilling reed lyricism would push the renditions into mere prettiness. Imagine a combination of Mozart and the Benny Goodman trio.
Luckily, the pianist, who composed most of the tracks here, uses tremolo voicing and resounding string slides to toughen his renditions other places. His spiky runs, key clipping and hesitant chording plus Moore’s intense, rappelling alto saxophone trills make “Corybant” sound like a forgotten Monk tune.
Wierbos’ distinctive triple-tongued runs and elongated slurs back up van der Schyff’s blunt flams and marital rolls when he appears. Additionally, the trombonist’s shapely plunger movements encourage the pianist to batter harpsichord-like on the keys and the alto saxophonist to wiggle out his most atonal split tones.
Bill Shoemaker - Point of Departure - Issue 7 - September 2006 (Moment's Notice)
Pianist Achim Kaufmann is the titular leader of this trio album with saxophonist/clarinetist Michael Moore, and drummer Dylan van der Schyff; but, if you don’t read the sleeve notes, it’s difficult to hear how and when overt leadership is asserted. Though Kaufmann contributes some idiomatic compositions, this is largely an album of impeccable improvised music. Granted, impeccability is a word not normally bandied about improvised music, mainly due to its privileging of a design sensibility. But, there is a sustained balance of input from each of the musicians that supports its use. This quality stems from their previous encounters in a string of closely related settings involving musicians based in Amsterdam and Vancouver. Kaufmann, Moore and van der Schyff have worked together in ensembles as large as a quintet, and as small as a duo. As a trio, they have enough space to maximize the effect of small details of dynamics and timbre; yet, in the more robust passages, they have a satisfyingly full sound. Additionally, their respective sensibilities as improvisers coalesce very well. Kaufmann’s playing has an underlying cool lucidity, whether he is playing soft fragmentary phrases or fast runs supported by strong, underpinning chords. Much the same can be said of Moore, who has an encyclopedic knowledge of tunes and styles which he can tap and reconfigure at any moment. van der Schyff’s playing is kaleidoscopic to the degree that one small shift in attack can produce a markedly different set of colors and rhythmic relationships.
Guillaume Belhomme - D-Mute
Déjà membre averti de deux trios remarquables (aux côtés de Frank Gratkowski et Wilbert de Joode pour le premier, d’Ernst Glerum et Han Bennink pour le second), le pianiste allemand Achim Kaufmann interroge une nouvelle fois les possibilités de la formule auprès du clarinettiste et saxophoniste américain Michael Moore et du batteur canadien Dylan van der Schyff.
Interprétant des compositions de Kaufmann, le groupe sert une musique hétéroclite, portée sans cesse par de nouveaux courants : swing polyrythmique (Kopfspinnennetz), parti pris sériel (Notre Dame de Paris), ou lyrisme contemporain (Ghosts At The Foot, Blue-Brailled). Improvisant ailleurs, le trio s’acharne à déconstruire (Sole To Soul) ou nuance, en compagnie du tromboniste Walter Wierbos, chaque assaut individuel (Skimble-Scamble, The Cyans).
Refusant le monopole de l’expérimentation satisfaite, Kaufmann, Moore et Schyff, distribuent ici ou là quelques élans récréatifs: funk déluré plus qu’efficace de Roadside, imbrications ludiques des interventions sur Corybant.
Eclatées, les influences trouvent leur point de ralliement au son d’un mélange subtil de jazz, de musique classique et de folklore européen, lié par un recours élégant à l’improvisation. Histoire d’interdire tout à fait l’entrée de Kamosc au plus petit signe de lassitude.