MP3 Piotr Michalowski, James Ilgenfritz, Mike Khoury, Sarah Weaver - Babardah
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Kurz-Beschreibung von CDbaby: Free improvisation blending saxophones/bass clarinet with trombone, violin, and bass.
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"Intricacy abounds as the quartet on (1) unravels complex musical mysteries. Michalowski opens with a robust baritone saxophone foundation, encouraging Khoury to build on the concept with stirring violin cries of sadness. Weaver’s trombone weeps in sympathy as llgenfritz uses arco motion to stir this cauldron of ’improvised sound. Khoury’s string symphony conjures images of remorsefulness in the Gypsy tradition and if counteraction with Michalowski’s and Weave’s horns becomes the defining quality oft this intense recording. Ilgenfritz surrounds these exchanges in a tightly knotted bass wrap as he alternates between introspective pizzicato and mournful bass drama. The music adopts a European aesthetic that coexists evenly with American concepts of spontaneously devised creativity.
The nine selections are the joint conception of the team, which listens to and answers the probing comments injected by each member. Weaver and Michalowski enter into bantering exchanges, causing Khoury and llgenfritz to cloak this inter-play in a blanket of swirling strings. Michalowski frequently forces mood swings by moving from the dense tones of the baritone and bass clarinet to the more sublime effect of the sopranino and soprano. Still, the music maintains its profound, gripping elements, llgenfritz’s bass solo on "Tauton" further emphasizes the somber scenario these four free spirits sculpt. His anguished resonance spurs Weaver into overt action while Khoury injects agitated string speech and Michalowski uses slurred mouthpiece breathing as a tranquilizing alternative. These four musicians have garnered the seeds of creativity from multiple cultural sources, but their amassed product celebrates all that is beautiful in the respective origins."
Frank Rubolino, Cadence 31 (March 2005) 119-20
"Wow, what with Mop and Brpobr, we’ve certainly come up with some band names this month. A quartet this time, Babardah is Piotr Michalowski on saxophones and bass clarinet, Mike Khoury on violin, James Ilgenfritz on bass and Sarah Weaver on trombone, and the nine tracks, entitled "Peliczaple", "Nyicnyac", "Rathi", "Krvilak", "Tauton", "Rostador", "Raparossi", "Giuggio" and "Galumfuja" (does anyone out there remember the old BBC series Call My Bluff? Frank Muir and Denis Norden would have had a ball with this lot) were recorded in the slightly less exotically named (but culturally significant) city of Ann Arbor, Michigan in April 2004. Mike Khoury is also the éminence grise behind Entropy Records (whose reissue of Griot Galaxy’s Live at the DIA was one of last year’s indisputable highlights.. woe betide you if you didn’t get your copy), which might go some way to explaining the free jazz inflections of much of Babardah’s music. Khoury in particular sounds well-versed in the Leroy Jenkins back catalogue, and there’s a terse, spunky attitude to Michalowski and Weaver’s blowing beautifully backed up by Ilgenfritz’s bass, which in a blind test I would probably have guessed as Sirone (assuming the violinist was Jenkins etc. etc. - remind me never to agree to do a real blind test). This is direct, open and strong free music, just the ticket if, like me, you want to restore your faith in the good people of the United States of America."
Dan Warburton, Paris Transatlantic, December 2004
"I had a few occasions to witness violinist Mike Khoury playing live when we lived out in Michigan. He & the other players on this CD of fantastic improvised music, don’t disappoint ears hungry for music "of, for & by" the moment. The compositions are less aggressive than string/reed/brass combinations often are... I’m not speaking of "approach", or "energy", because the call & response are clearly evident, & abound in energy... what I mean is that the pieces have a "gentleness" to them that makes them very attractive to listen to. Plan on an hour to listen & another to reflect on what you’ve heard. BABARDAH is the kind of musical experience that needs to be absorbed afterwards... You can’t be a "non-involved" listener to hear the message being presented here, but it your ears are constantly seeking new sonic adventures, they will agree with mine... MOST HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!"
From a review by Rotcod Zzaj forthcoming in issue # 67 of IMPROVIJAZZATION NATION
"The elegant improvisations presented in "Babardah" are built upon appealing sounds and extreme respect for every instrument’s voice. Each and every concept is carefully analysed, becoming an element of reflection and observation rather than an obstentation of useless power. The instrumentation (bass, violin, sax and trombone) is appealing as it works perfectly in a sort of "chamber free music" where seemingly nothing is discarded. There’s nothing too conceptual here, not a reason that could prevent this record to calmly sail in that sea of "discreet" avant-garde where virtuosity and studies of possibilities never exceed a mature and insightful approach to playing. Essentially, this is intelligent stuff - neither too dense, nor too reductive - that must be listened to with the same poised stance of the musicians involved."
Massimo Ricci, TOUCHING EXTREMES Oct. 4. 2004 (https://www.tradebit.com)
"Heavy experimentation is the main thing here. We have sax, violin, trombone and bass playing incredible sounds here. The sax delivers good phrases and interact cleverly with the bass that does good small arrangements in tracks like "Peliczaple". The violin is amazing in creating melancholic melodies and sounds. And the trombone plays some interesting lines and some background sounds that construct interesting moods. It is amazing how these great musicisns start playing something that seems anarchic and then becomes coherent with their good improvisational skills. This is pure originality in the form of experimentation done by really good musicians. Pure spontaneity."
MUSIC EXTREME Jan. 205
"I’m quite possibly least qualified person on the Foxy D. staff to review this. The closest I come to Jazz in my regular listening are the sax freak-outs on The Stooges’ "Funhouse." Still, I know what I like, and I like this. A lot. Low droning bass, shrieking and stabbing violins, wailing saxes, and booming trombone are where it’s at. The music exudes menace and foreboding, kind of the aural equivalent of a good horror movie. 8/10."
FOXY DIGITALIS short reviews
All four musicians have played together in various combinations over the years. Mike and Piotr have been working as a duo in Michigan, while James and Sarah, having moved to New York, were exploring their own duets, and having recorded a cd together, made a short tour. When they came to perform in Ann Arbor, MI, both duos went into the studio together and recorded as a quartet.
*Bassist and composer James Ilgenfritz recently graduated from the music program at the University of Michigan and currently resides in Brooklyn, NY, where he leads the experimental jazz quartet The Anagram Ensemble. He also plays in a trio with drummer/composer Lukas Ligeti and guitarist Eyal Maoz and in a duo with Sarah Weaver. James has performed with Kyle Bruckmann, Andrew D’Angelo, Tim Berne, Steve Swell, Gunda Gottschalk, and the avant-rock band Larval.
*Violinist Mike Khoury has recorded for several labels including Public Eyesore, Entropy Stereo, and Detroit Improvisation. Currently residing in the SE Michigan area, he has had the good fortune of performing and recording with world class improvisers such as Maury Coles, Luc Houtkamp, Le Quan Ninh, Faruq Z. Bey, Wolfgang Fuchs, Dennis Gonzalez, and Gunda Gottschalk. He also played on Close Embrace of the Earth (abzu 001).
*Piotr Michalowski plays soprano, sopranino, and baritone saxophones as well as bass clarinets on this release. Piotr is also a music journalist. Featured on Sarah Waver’s sound painting CD, Weave, and on abzu 001, he continues to explore free improvisation as well as more traditional forms of music in the SE Michigan area, most recently in duet with Mike Khoury. His most recent cd is SKI (Detroit Improvisation 4), a duet with woodwind player Lenni Bukowski.
*Trombonist and Soundpainting conductor/composer Sarah Weaver is the founder of Weave Soundpainting Orchestra at Deep Listening Space in Kingston NY and the Associate Conductor and trombonist of The Walter Thompson Orchestra in New York City. She has performed with Pauline Oliveros, Marylin Crispell, Karl Berger, Lisa Abbatomarco, and James Ilgenfritz among others. A graduate of the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor, Weaver is co-director of the International Society for Improvised Music (ISIM).
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