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Quartet Noir — Lugano
(Victo VICTO CD 096, 2005, CD)

by Mac Beaulieu, Published 2006-05-01

Lugano Cover art

Saxophonist Urs Leimgruber has an extensive recorded history stretching back to his involvement in the free jazz group Om in 1974. Quartet Noir is his collaboration with past co-conspirators pianist Marilyn Crispell, bassist Joëlle Léandre, and percussionist Fritz Hauser, all of whom have produced vast bodies of work that are impressive at the very least due to their sheer sizes. Lugano is entirely improvised and deliberately arhythmic. It’s predominantly an intellectual affair, where Art Lange’s liner notes can find suggestions of cubism and “elusive perspectives [that] assure momentum without coercion,” and where avant cognoscenti can seemingly find profound human experience in a saxophone squeak. “Lugano Part III”’s brief comparative structure and rhythmic drumming is veritable ear candy to me after the first 37 minutes of the disc, which is probably indicative of some fragmentary cortical evolution that took place when my mammalian ancestors evolved from the stem reptile. After all, what reasonable objection can I have against music that “offers a parallel reality to the discerning reality of vision”? I feel like Archie Bunker listening to this music and reading the liner notes. Seriously, I have no objections to the study and enjoyment of this type of musical art form, but it’s entirely beyond my appreciation.


Filed under: New releases, Issue 33, 2005 releases

Related artist(s): Quartet Noir

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