Philipp Gerschlauer, David Fiuczynski: MikroJazz! (Rare Noise Records)
This exploratory venture is subtitled, “Neue Expressionistiche Music.” The music is, indeed, expressionistic. Ears accustomed to conventional tuning may initially find the microtonal approach difficult to absorb. However, after a hearing or two the microtonality begins to move beyond exoticism and stimulate in the listener a willingness to accept that the tempered scale dominant in western music for centuries does not have to be accepted as gospel. One observer characterized this music by German alto saxophonist Gerschlauer and American guitarist Fiuczynski as, “…notes that fall between the cracks.” They are far from the first musicians to be captivated by the charms and challenges of microtonality. The classical composers Olivier Messiaen, Pierre Boulez and Gérard Gisey are among the many who have explored its possibilities. And there’s a strong case to be made that members of the jazz avant garde, including Chicago’s AACM movement and such explorers as Eric Dolphy and Cecil Taylor, achieved microtonal improvisation, regardless of whether they thought of it as such. At any rate, in the interest of expanding their horizons, listeners accustomed to middle-of-the-road harmonic approaches may find that <<emMikrojazz! can open their ears and their minds. In addition to Gerschlauer and Fiuczunski, the quintet of musicians, who are as disciplined as they are free, includes the veteran drummer Jack DeJohnette, bassist Matt Garrison and—playing microtonal keyboards , Georgi Mikadze, a pianist from Tiblisi in the Republic of Georgia who is now a New Yorker.
This piece, composed by Gerschlauer, is titled, “For Mary Wigman.”
Mary Wigman (1886-1973), for whom Gerschlauer named that piece, was a German dancer and choreographer remembered in dance circles as the pioneer of expressionist dance, movement training and dance as therapy.