Thomas Ulrich/Elliott Sharp/Carlos "Zingaro"/Ken Filiano: T.E.C.K. String 4tet. 2007. Clean Feed: CF089CD.
Thomas Ulrich: cello
Elliott Sharp: acoustic guitar, national tricone
Carlos "Zingaro": violin
Ken Filiano: bass
String timbres have often been at the heart of Elliott Sharp's most attractive works. Be it his string quartets (of the "conventional" instrumentation) or his work with guitars his is a familiar voice to pick out within this quartet of free improvisers. And improvisation has also been a strong facet of Sharp's output. Here the sound bends and undulates with the creative additions of Ulrich, Zingaro and Filiano filling out the soundscape with their own distinctive mark. The music that flows, unpremeditated from this ensemble is quiet and intense. Focused on details while leaving plenty of space for new sonic territory to be initiated from any quarter.
Gunda Gottschalk/Peter Jacquemyn/Ute Volker: Baggerboot. 2003. Henceforth Records: 102.
Gunda Gottschalk: violin, viola
Peter Jacquemyn: bass
Ute Volker: accordion
Three arcing, long-form improvisations with the reedy timbre of Volker's accordion deftly bridging a territory between the high and low strings of Gottschalk and Jacquemyn. Each makes up part of a complete set, like three large canvases hanging next to one another, offering up a study in shading and texture. There's a grounded sense of drone within this sound even as none of these individual players stands still for long, allowing the texture to develop with a sense of unfolding and hearing with ears wide open.
Ron Miles: Heaven. 2002. Sterling Circle: SC5151.
Ron Miles: trumpet
Bill Frisell: guitar
If you've had this disc up on the shelf for a while you might have forgotten how good it is. And if you don't have it on your shelf at all (or on your hard drive, your portable player and all the other ways music worms into it's "non-physical" media) then you're missing one of the most amazing works of understated duo collaboration recorded. Named after the Duke Ellington piece represented in this set, along with Bob Dylan's "A Hard Rain's A-gonna Fall," Jelly Roll Morton's "King Porter Stomp" and a take on Hank William's "Your Cheatin' Heart" that virtually weeps, it's the Ron Miles originals that shed the most light on a collaborative sensibility that runs deep between these two players.