Ursel Schlicht/Steve Swell 4tet
Ursel Schlicht - piano
Steve Swell - trombone
Tom Abbs – bass, tuba
Geoff Mann - drums, cornet
Rec at Gilbert Recital Hall, Canton, NY, July 18, 2002
Produced by Robert D. Rusch
Recorded by Marc D. Rusch
Cover art Kara D. Rusch
1. Poets of the Now (7:42)
2. 12/2 (12:22)
3. Han Bennink (8:05)
4. Bluesy (6:44)
5. Barbara Ellen (9:41)
6. Ursel Surveying the Scene (9:13)
7. Orbicularis Orbis (9:57)
Poets of the Now by Bruce Gallanter - Downtown Music Gallery, 2002
This fine quartet features Ursel on piano, the ubiquitous Steve Swell on trombone, Tom Abbs on bass & tuba and Geoff Mann on drums. I've known of the wonderful pianist Ursel Schlicht for nearly a decade, checking her out in numerous ensembles often with the equally great experimental guitarist Hans Tammen in both duo and group situations live and on the Leo label.
Steve Swell is certainly one of the finest trombone players I've known and is now on some twenty releases on the CIMP and Cadence group of labels. The Tom and Geoff rhythm team also seem to keep extremely busy, between sessions with Ori Kaplan, Andy Bemkey and others. The title track is first and it has an instantly memorable opening theme and swaggering riff. There is a consistently inspired connection between the piano and the trombone, as they throw the energy back and forth and erupt together. The rhythm section also sounds as if they have been playing together for years as they also play with natural force, locked in intricate patterns as one team. A piece called Han Bennink (that wacky Dutch drummer from ICP) features a fine drum solo from Geoff Mann at the center of some rather difficult charted material. Bluesy features Tom's bowed bass, Steve's spooky trombone, Ursel's inside the piano tinkling and Geoff's playful percussion all working together through some mysterious sonic blend, riveting throughout. Bluesy is just that with some burning bone from the ever-inspired Steve Swell, as well as an erupting duo with the piano and bass exploding together and then winding down to somber, playful solo for brushes. Even the freer piece, like Ursel Surveying the Scene flows in a most organic way as the quartet spin their web in flurries, always connected in some way. I caught this great quartet at the Brecht Forum a few months ago and this cd does capture them at their best, so dig in and enjoy their great sounds.
Poets of the Now by Hernâni Faustino
Depois de ter colaborado e gravado com o trio Implicate Order no album Sound Quest, a pianista germânica Ursel Schlicht estabeleceu uma empatia musical forte com o trombonista Steve Swell, resultando num novo projecto co-liderado pelos
dois músicos, só que desta vez existiu uma clara opção em recorrer a material escrito, ao qual se juntou muita improvisação instantânea. Poets of the Now reflecte uma intriga musical fértil, argumentado com grande carácter expressivo pelos quatro intervenientes, com principal relevância para o uso da energia e do espaço, resultando numa sessão plena de transições cruciais e tempestivas. Poets of the Now é daqueles discos que se ouvem vezes sem conta, e sempre com um renovado prazer, onde o fio condutor dos temas é alimentado pelas impares intervenções de um dos grandes trombonistas da actualidade, e pelas incidências talentosas do piano de Schlicht, sustentadas por uma secção rítmica polivalente,
na criação de ambientes e na dinâmica de toda a música de Poets of the Now.
Poets of the Now by Steven Loewy, All Music Guide
After her stunning recording for Cadence Jazz Records entitled Sound Quest, with a different group that also included Steve Swell, it is not surprising that this earthy sequel with Tom Abbs on tuba and bass and Geoff Mann on drums and cornet might be somewhat of a letdown. Not that there is anything seriously diminished in the scope of the recording: There is not. It is simply that Sound Quest was such a remarkable album for someone so unknown that it was by its nature a difficult act to follow. There are some special performances here, nonetheless, mostly by Steve Swell, one of the finest swashbucklers of the slide trombone, and his extended feature on Bluesy simply shows what a powerful and forceful player he can be. Co-leader Schlicht is a subtler improviser, at least in terms of volume. Her fingers might fly across the keyboard on the opening Poets of the Now, but even with an extended growing tremolo she does not approach Swell's level of intensity, his split tones, and his overblown eruptions. Tom Abbs, who is best known for his work on tuba, adds immeasurably to the sound through his bass, where he shows a rare level of virtuosity. Swell and Schlicht are a good team as co-leaders: They parallel but do not copy one another, and the results here reveal some worthy and exciting moments.