2018 WhyPlayJazz (WPJ043), CD + MP3 Album Download
Kasper Tom Christiansen (dr, comp), Tomasz Dąbrowski (tp), Andreas Lang (b), Rudi Mahall (bcl)
Recorded, mixed and mastered October 2017 by Tito Knapp at Tito’s Zentrifuge, Berlin, Germany. All compositions by Kasper Tom Christiansen. Produced by Kasper Tom Christiansen for WhyPlayJazz. Design by Travassos. Photo by Kristoffer Juel. With support from Svendborg Musikråd, DJBFA and Koda’s Cultural Funds.
FUSK is 100% contemporary jazz, catapulted forward by the creative ingenuity of the band members; these are players who have something to say! The music is intensive, joyous. It grabs you, as it expands out of its musical roots and takes off and into the open air.
Kasper Tom Christiansen is no purist; instead, he tastefully mixes genres, as much at home with the techniques required in contemporary new music as with the improvisational surprises of free jazz.
FUSK takes up a wide field of play, and this adventurous quartet doesn’t like to be fenced in. It all begins with the members of a band that has been in existence for some ten years. “The Jig Is Up” is FUSK’s fourth album. Trumpet (now with a new band member, the amazing Polish musician, Tomasz Dabrowski), bass clarinet/clarinet (Rudi Mahall), bass (Andreas Lang), and drums: It’s a band that reminds you of such breakthrough bands of the early 1960’s as the classic Ornette Coleman Quartet, the New York Art Quartet, or Archie Shepp’s early quartet with trumpeter Bill Dixon. At first listen they sound a bit retro, indicative of the revolutionary fervor of the time. But straightaway you sense there’s something deeper here, something playful, with an understated humor that transports history into the present.
Despite their complexity, the compositions are far from obtrusive. FUSK evinces an amazing lightness in their play – there’s an edge to the tempos and a synergy between the two horns. That may sound like blue light (high speed) driving, like a club in which you’d love to spend the evening, like big city street scenes, like an enchanted past with imprints in the here and now. It is intensive, joyous music with a melodic incisiveness. It grabs you. Expanding out of its musical roots, it takes off into the open air, as it constructs and deconstructs the musical material in the same breath.
This acoustic band has fun with the album’s feel of freewheeling swing. There’s often a tongue-in-cheek attitude to the music’s mercurial, gripping shifts and turns. It’s fresh music that plays around with the sounds we are used to hearing, as the musicians tip their hats to the past while at the same time blasting through traditional styles.
There’s a balance within the turbulence that oscillates between the compositions and the continual leaps of creative furor. Nothing takes a life of its own here, since everything is dedicated to the service of the musical situation. And there’s the band’s whimsical name, FUSK, which could be translated as “messing around”. With the band’s ironic musical allusions and subtle humor, the name fits. Yet, the irony never degenerates into cheap tricks; there is never a lack of creative ideas.
As usual, the music is based on highly complex and yet wonderfully melodic themes, which Christiansen so ably creates, which in turn provide ideal platform for the quartet members to develop their individual and collective statements. [...] The scope of the compositions, and as a result the scope of the music presented on the album is very diverse, which creates an element of tension with the listener not sure as of what to expect next. [...] For an experienced Jazz connoisseur this album is a lecture of Jazz, and especially Free Jazz history, delightfully illustrated by the music. Not surprisingly it is a wonderful piece of music, which should be enjoyed by as many listeners as possible and another milestone in Christiansen´s path, which is one of the most consistently excellent on the burgeoning European Jazz scene. Hats off, again, Maestro!Adam Baruch, The Soundtrack Of My Life
Danish drummer Kasper Tom Christiansen refers unequivocally to the bubbling period of the early years when the Ornette Coleman Quartet, The New York Art Quartet, or Archie Shepp's quartet with Bill Dixon invented a new way of playing jazz. [...] The leading drummer has cut his tailor-made compositions for his accomplices by adding enough open spaces for their freedom of expression. We enjoy the very natural patina of this music that makes wood, copper, string and skin vibrate with sobriety and authenticity. A music that flows from source and traces a path often chaotic with moments of serenity. If the reference to the past is very sensitive, these musicians remind us that this approach to jazz will always be new. Highly recommended!Thierry Giard, culturejazz.fr
The music of “FUSK” is full of contrasts and dynamic stylistic changes. The four interesting and creative avant-garde jazz masters are playing together for a long time now – their collective improvisation is a marvelous synthesis between expressive and passionate improvising, spontaneous musical decisions, original and interesting stylistic waves, sudden turns and colorful contrasts. The main attention is paid to the expressive, free and vivacious improvising and the search of new and unusual ways of playing. Kasper Tom Christiansen's compositions are arranged very inventively and expressively – each musician can explore new ways of playing and show his own style, abilities of playing and interesting playing manners. [...] This album has a bright, innovative and touching sound.Avant Scena