Random Acoustics RA 001 Spellings
John Butcher, tenor, soprano saxophone;
Georg Graewe, piano; Hans Schneider, double bass;
Martin Blume, drums
Spelling A (06.09); Spelling B (08.40); Spelling C (09.43); Spelling D (10.54); Spelling E (14.35).
Recorded live at Museum Bochum, October 4 1992.
Artwork and design by Hans Schneider and Georg Graewe.
"Frisque Concordance is John Butcher (tenor and soprano saxophones), Hans Schneider (double bass), Martin Blume (drums) and leader/instigator Georg Grawe (piano). Spellings is a concert performance which took place in Bochum (Germany) in 1992 and was only the second time this improvising quartet had played together, although its members have performed in various other combinations. The results are spectacular, but achieved in a refined manner; the group seldom goes for out and out power-play. In painterly terms Butcher and Grawe apply the lighter tones, Schneider and Blume the darker, textural shading. Grawe's performance here is markedly different from the near impenetrable School of Cecil Piano Duets with Marilyn Crispell, released last year by Leo Records. Spellings displays his more lyrical side, an open rolling style which gives much of this music its unfussy elegance. Butcher is impressive too, and, at risk of repeating myself, is not only the key European improv saxophonist of his generation, but also one of the major sax innovators (of any generation) now working in this field. He plays with customary poise, achieving barbed tension and melodic flourishes, like the delightful flute-like sonorities on soprano on 'Spelling B', with notable economy; he has also found a way of making the usually hermetic, circular-breathing-multiphonic-mode receptive to group improvisation. To use an expression currently fashionable among the boxing fraternity Frisque Concordance is "focused". Georg Grawe couldn't have hoped for a more auspicious start to his newly-founded Random Acoustics label."
Chris Blackford, Rubberneck
"Frisque Concordance is the name for a very particular grouping of improvisers under the direction of Georg Graewe. This 1992 show is their second gig in as many years, and all of its improvisations come under the heading of Spellings. The lineup is Graewe on piano, Martin Blume on drums, John Butcher on saxophones, and Hans Schneider on bass. This set typifies a Graewe-led ensemble: slow, appropriately microtonal, and hauntingly strident in its use of empty intervals (fourths, ninths, etc.) in order to draw out his collaborators. Butcher adds his squeaks, sparingly at first, and then reaching for parity with Schneider, who is playing arco before pizzicato in pianississimo! How does this effect Blume? He stutters around creeping with his hands and brushes, whispering along a set pattern of accents before deferring to Graewe who uncorks things a bit and moves the dynamic tension up a notch, then tow before bringing it all back down. About midway through the third track, called "C" appropriately, everyone is playing at once in a low-level striated dance, whispering around the spherical harmonic juxtapositions and contrapuntal figures being laid down by Graewe and Butcher. On "D" Graewe quotes first Herbie Nichols (out of cadence) and then George Shearing and then Lennie Tristano before reworking them all to fit a D minor base for exploration, with only Blume nuttering about with his brushes on the toms and hit hat. It's a gorgeous beginning that inspires everybody else as they enter with pause and great economy of phrase before continuing the dialogue. Spellings was a very auspicious concert; we're lucky to have a recording of it."
Thom Jurek: All Music Guide