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Undivided: Moves Between Clouds – Live in Warsaw

img  Tobias Fischer

Recorded at the 2011 Tzadig festival in Warsaw, Moves Between Clouds – Live in Warsaw, is the most recent album by Polish jazz group Undivided. With composer/clarinetist Wacław Zimpel at the helm, the quintet offers an exhilarating three-song set reminiscent of the sounds of late 60s modal and free jazz. The album opens with “Hoping The Morning Say,” a track that delightfully brings to mind Coltrane’s Live at the Village Vanguard with Eric Dolphy. Clarinetist Wacław Zimpel sounds as if he’s channeling Dolphy’s bass-clarinet playing on the mesmerizing Coltrane number “Spiritualized” while Klaus Kugel’s thunderstorm of cymbals and snare provide a shimmering, driving backdrop for Bobby Few’s McCoy Tyner-indebted piano playing, which moves from modal comping to spiraling free-jazz figures.

The aptly titled “Moves Between Clouds” is a spacious, impressionistic improvisation. Zimpel and veteran clarinetist Perry Robinson swell wistfully with long-tones over Few’s pensive but incessant block chords. The piece is marked by that sort of sense-of-space that makes you lean forward in anticipation, but disappears into vapor before you really get your head around it. Moves Between Clouds closes with “What A Big Quiet Noise,” a wonderfully messy free jazz improvisation of squealing reeds, sporadic start-stop rhythm section jolts, and violent tone clusters. Just when the piece reaches a terminal point of claustrophobia, the smoke clears to an accompanied solo by Ukranian upright bassist Mark Tofar, who takes the listener on a journey of grating sul ponticello bowings and bird-like harmonics.

Moves Between Clouds – Live in Warsaw sounds as if it was recorded time and era—specifically in the smoky jazz clubs of late 1960’s New York City. That’s not to say that Undivided sounds irrelevant or even overly dated—indeed, the music of Coltrane, Tyner, and Dolphy remains at least as progressive as most of the jazz that came after it. Rather, this blistering quartet seems to be paying homage to those titans of improvisational music, and doing it masterfully.

By Hannis Brown

Homepage: Undivided
Homepage: Wacław Zimpel
Homepage: Multikulti Recordings

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