Herwig Gradischnig’s GHOST TRIO
the art of no piano
Herwig Gradischnig, saxophone
Morten Ramsbøl, bass
Klemens Marktl, drums
funny thing – to have a piano player write the liner notes for a (piano-less) saxophone trio cd.
the first selfish thought even before listening: will i miss the piano? then while listening: do i miss the piano? and after listening: did i miss the piano? all three really just one thought or bad attitude as it were and totally subjective and unfair 1) to herwig, the leader of this delectable date and 2) to his masterful cohorts klemens marktl and morten ramsbol. silly would be to box those two into any kind of accompanying or supporting role – partners is more like it, as these three cats, all at the top of their game, are a triangular force on a carpet-ride through the imagination and soul of herwig gradischnig.
the original titles alone are worth the price of admission – united starlings is an extended blues theme that herwig told me was inspired by those flocks of birds that fly in synchronized waves. herwig also assured me that its meaning was abstract (if you know him, you just have to smile); the contrasting effects of bipolare nachtruhe (literally: bipolar night-silence) are beautiful and disturbing and perfect; just for fun i’ll venture a very liner-notey guess about denkmalpflege (literally: monument maintenance – a title equally cynical in both english and german): it could possibly refer to some actual renovation-event, but to me, perhaps hints at the – shall we say – misguided ways jazz tends to be re-interpreted these days. it’s actually a tribute to the funky mr. ornette coleman but i can hear herwig saying: hey, check out THIS swinging shit HERE!
with nods to the great standards (the best things in life…) and to the inimitable stevie wonder (another star) herwig shows us his roots and appreciations. the “number” songs (68, 02102001) are free and clear, clear and free – haunting, groovy statements to open and close. mountains of love says it all… but – mountains of amazing saxophone too. no piano needed or missed.
paraphrasing herwig’s own reminiscence: …many unknown areas we tried, but back then with an idea of confidence. yes – confident, creative, cool… taking chances, telling stories – that’s what it’s all about.
rob bargad, december 2017