RT 9341 (2011)

 

Gratkowski / Mezei / Márkos / Blume

DuH

in Just

Frank Gratkowski – alto sax, clarinet, bass clarinet
Szilárd Mezei – viola
Albert Márkos– cello
Martin Blume – drums, percussions


1. in Just (10:55)
2. spring (6:56)
3. balloonman (6:29)
4. mud-luscious (4:01)
5. hop-scotch (6:34)
6. jump-rope (5:50)
7. far and wee (2:26)
8. goat-footed (10:19)

Music by Frank Gratkowski, Szilárd Mezei, Albert Márkos& Martin Blume

Recorded May 3, 2010 at LOFT, Cologne

 

photos: William De Merchant


    

 

In spring 2010, I was asked to form a project for the Festival “Scene Ungarn in NRW” (Nordrhein-Westfalen - NRW is my home country in Germany). This was a great opportunity to contact again the hungarian cellist Albert Márkos with whom I played together only once at a Music Symposium in Copenhagen 15 years ago. NRW (and Berlin) based reed player Frank Gratkowski, with whom I’m working regularly since end of the 80s (recently also in our actual group SHIFT), was the first choice for the NRW part of the group. Albert proposed right away the violist Szilárd Mezei with whom he collaborates in many other projects. The Quartet played 5 concerts and immediately the chemistry and musical communication of the group worked perfect, which made us decide to continue working as a steady group which we call DuH: D for Germany and H for Hungary. This recording is a documentation of our first concert.

Martin Blume

 

 

 

Bruce Lee Gallanter, Downtown Music Gallery

This quartet was organized by German drummer Martin Blume and it is indeed an intriguing line-up. I am a big fan of viola player Szilard Mezei who has more than a dozen discs out different labels (Leo, Slam, Not Two) as well as Frank Gratkowski, another great player with dozens of discs also on many labels. I am unfamiliar with cellist Albert Markos, although he has worked with Mezei in different projects.

Recorded at the Loft in Cologne in May of 2010 during a five concert tour by the DuH quartet. This is a strong improv session with excellent, thoughtful interplay. Some of this sounds like lower case improv but with a bit more quirky interaction. All of the instruments are acoustic and closely mic'd. When I take the time to concentrate on this music, I hear so much elastic interplay with intricate sounds and ideas flowing back and forth quickly. There are moments when it is difficult to tell who is doing what - is that a bowed cymbal or a bowed string or slightly twisted reed sound? It takes some patience to hear the arc or the almost imperceptible connection between all of the members of the quartet. The thing is that you know it's there sometimes hidden, sometimes not so much.

 

 

Nic Jones - All About Jazz (Sept 2011)

Free improvisation guarantees the sound of surprise in a way that few other musical strains do. While the primacy of the moment and the players' responses in it and to it are the prime motivations for the music, this will always be the case. This makes the idea of trying to define just what governs the success of the resulting music a slippery notion but, however it might be pinned down, In Just falls very much on the positive side.

That sounds like faint praise, but it would be difficult to try and define just what it is about such intensely inscrutable music that holds the attention, even though it does so with interest. This ensures that the small sounds at the opening of "spring" are compelling in themselves, less the next best thing to silence and more as the result of an understanding of that elusive quality. Szilard Mezei's viola and Albert Markos' cello seem to have the effect of coming together, only to draw apart quickly, as if motivated by mutual distrust.

Despite not immediately follow such title discussions "goat-footed" could be the other side of the same coin. The strings are again capricious enough to suggest the similarly string-oriented version of the Spontaneous Music Ensemble, before drummer Martin Blumes sounds like a man trying to impose fractious order. As the music progresses Frank Gratkowski, on clarinet, lays claim to territory on the periphery of the music, but such is the primacy of that moment again that the resulting tension is quickly dissipated.

"hop-scotch" suggests something more playful than the reality of the music, at least at first. Gratkowski teases out a meandering line to which Mezel adheres before taking wing, but received notions have only tangential relevance. This is hardly surprising given this music's fearsome individuality.

All About Jazz

 

Nic Jones - All About Jazz (Dec 2011)

The method of free improvisation kind of guarantees the sound of surprise in a way that few other musical strains do. While the primacy of the moment and the players' responses in it and to it are the prime motivations for the music this will always be the case. This makes the idea of trying to define just what governs the success of the resulting music a slippery notion, but however it might be pinned down, In Just falls very much on the positive side.

That sounds like faint praise, but it would be difficult to try and define just what it is about such intensely inscrutable music which holds the attention even though it does so with interest. This ensures that the small sounds at the opening of "spring" are compelling in themselves, not so much the next best thing to silence as the result of an understanding of that elusive quality; viola and cello seem to have the effect of coming together, only to draw apart quickly, sounding as if they're motivated by mutual distrust.

Despite the fact that it doesn't immediately follow "spring," "goat-footed" could be the other side of the same coin. The strings are again capricious enough to suggest the similarly string-oriented version of the Spontaneous Music Ensemble before drummer Martin Blume sounds like a man trying to impose order. As the music progresses reed man Frank Gratkowski, on clarinet, lays claim to territory on its periphery, but such is the primacy of that moment that, again, the resulting tension is quickly dissipated.

Of course, "hop-scotch" suggests something more playful than the reality of the music, at least at first. Gratkowski teases out a meandering line to which violist Szilard Mezel adheres before taking wing, but received notions have only tangential relevance. This is hardly surprising given the music's fearsome individuality.

All About Jazz