Trombonist Roland Dahinden and Hildegard Kleeb do the music of free improvisation proud in their splendid new set of works collectively entitled Stones. In fine tradition the duo make a lasting impression of deeply integrated performances that flow naturally as if the music were being created on the spot. Both Dahinden and Kleeb speak from within; they listen to where each other is going and align themselves instantaneously to where his and her direction. They can be engagingly rustic and emotionally deep, as in the ‘Territory’ pieces , or breathe fiery dialogues into the lithe lines of ‘Flying White’ along unconventional lines. Their handling of ‘Trajectory’ is thrilling. Without sacrificing power or speed, they mine the unconventionally lyrical vein of the series of pieces throughout with expressive gestures that liberate the music’s ebb and flow.
As composers of this repertoire both Roland Dahinden and Hildegard Kleeb are unafraid to reflect aspects of their primordial surroundings in their music depicting a location that it is at once harsh and atmospheric. The result is music that manages to strike a balance between the highly experimental and the deeply expressive. In the ten works on this disc, each score or movement has a title not only numerically differentiating it from its (numerical) counterpart, but also one that points the listener in the direction of a wholly new facet of the rocky promontory about which this topographical tale is all about. The results of each of the score are suffused with vivid, molten surprises. These scores are strikingly evocations of Dahinden’s and Kleeb’s fertile impressionistic minds and each musical locale is an improvisation that drives a musical epiphany.
There is no gratuitous virtuosity here. Both Dahinden and Kleeb show utmost commitment to the expressive needs of the music, its visceral rhythm and frieze-like melody. These are sterling accounts in every way. Dahinden’s penetrating timbre and keen attention to nuance ensure that all of the music emerges with vibrant purpose, beautifully balanced by the dashing poetry by Kleeb’s pianism. The tricky balance between instruments, especially when the trombone dips into its lowest range, is never an issue – a manifestation both of the musician’s sensitivity and microphone placement that doesn’t allow one instrument to swallow the other. Best of all, the distinctive voices of each of the musicians keeps the listener enveloped in the performances as Dahinden and Kleeb use their inestimable artistic gifts to summon what was in the landscape that they ‘sing’ about so memorably.
Track List: Trajectory 2; Stones 1; Territory 2; Flying White; Trajectory 3; Territory 3; Stones 3; Trajectory 4; Stones 4; Territory 4.
Personnel: Roland Dahinden: trombone; Hildegard Kleeb: piano.
Running time: 46:16