TGW
thieke/griener/weber
the amazing dr. clitterhouse
Stacks Image 11

A Dispatch from Reuters 5:37
2. East is West 5:00
3. A Bullet for Joey 5:06
4. Two Weeks in Another Town 5:29
5. Unholy Partners 5:04
6. Two Seconds 7:29
7. Key Largo 4:29

Total Time: 38:17
THIEKE/GRIENER/WEBER THE AMAZING DR. CLITTERHOUSE

Christian Weber: bass
Michael Griener: drums
Michael Thieke: clarinet, alto clarinet, alto saxophone

Recorded February 24th, 2005 in Berlin by TGW

Music composed by Michael Thieke (GEMA), Michael Griener (GEMA), Christian Weber (SUISA)

Cover art by Åke Bjurhamn
Layout by Stéphane Berland
Executive producer for ayler records is Jan Ström

Download Only

Ayler Records/Gusum(Sweden) 2007

www.ayler.com
PRESSE
Musikerne der her var samlet til denne session var Michael Thieke på altsaxofon, altklarinet og klarinet, Christian Weber på bas og Michael Griener på trommer. Tre tyske musikere (går jeg ud fra) som jeg ikke kendte noget til, inden jeg modtog denne mageløse cd. De spiller sig igennem 7 suveræne numre som de alle selv har komponeret. Det her er den vilde og intense fede free jazz, med Thieke i den overlegne førertrøje uanset om det er saxofonerne eller klarinetten han sætter for munden og de andre musikere følger hans ideer og udskejelser til punkt og prikke, lidt som om at de ved hvad retning han har tænkt sig at begive sig i inden han gør det. Thieke lyder som en Jimmy Giuffre, på en af sine bedste dage når han sætter klarinetterne for munden og efter at have lyttet til denne cd, står det helt klart for mig at han er en fantastisk musiker. Jeg vil virkelig ønske at denne trio kommer med flere udgivelser i fremtiden, for det her er virkelig virkelig fedt. Det her er ikke noget sindsygt nytænkende eller innovativt fremadsynet, men for pokker hvor er det holder hele vejen. Som en lille side bemærkning kan det oplyses at denne cd er den første hvor Ayler Records' faste cover kunstner Åke Bjurhamn ikke har stået for coveret med hans smukke malerier, som det ellers indtil nu har været tilfældet. Henrik Kaldahl, JAZZNETT (DK) 2007
...Two other recent releases bear the bassist’s mark. He joins saxophone and clarinet player Michael Thieke and drummer Michael Griener on The Amazing Dr. Clitterhouse. The seven-track, free jazz recording showcases a trio full of personality. Whether cleverly jesting with one another or supporting each other on forays into murky terrain, this group moves as one. Even during solos, like when Thieke blows carefully into his horn on “Unholy Partners”, Weber and Griener’s presence is felt, gentle but sturdy, supporting their mate and filling out the sound with brushes and bass notes...
Celeste Sunderland, ALL ABOUT JAZZ-NEW YORK (USA) 05/2007
With a title like this, who could resist? Berlin-based reedist Michael Thieke is joined by bassist Christian Weber and drummer Michael Griener on this tightly packed 7-song, 39 minute download-only release on the innovative Ayler imprint. Beautifully and inexpensively recorded at Griener’s rehearsal space, the pieces are fully realized compositions/improvisations by the hard listening trio with a DIY ethic. Thieke’s alto sax gets a chance to flex its muscles on tunes like "East is West" and his alto clarinet wails with a vengeance on "A Bullet for Joey." Thieke’s playing here is reminiscent of John Tchicai. Weber’s supple lines, unerring ear and fertile imagination supply a profusion of ideas, figures and textures for his cohorts to luxuriate in. And Griener has mastered the art of ‘timeless time’ as well as stoking the group’s serious groove’s, for this trio can and do groove mightily. This trio can blow hard, sing lyrically, and create deeply mysterious dreamscapes. If you haven’t downloaded a free jazz album before, make this one your first.
Glen Hall, EXCLAIM (CAN) 07/2007
Utgivningen från Ayler Records börjar mer och mer att anta samma tempo som tonerna i ett Charles Gayle-solo. De fullkomligt sprutar ut! Men kvantitet och kvalitet går sällan hand i hand. Följaktligen är heller inte allt så intressant, om än mycket är det. Däribland trion Michael Thieke (altsax, altklarinett och klarinett), Christian Weber (bas) och Michael Griener (trummor) som nu släpper en skiva inspelad Grieners replokal i Berlin 2005. Jag har ingen vidare kännedom om någon av dem, men ser att alla har ganska extensiva diskografier där skivorna tycks pendla mellan jazz och improvisation. Så gör också "The Amazing Dr Clitterhouse". Inspiration hämtas från "klassisk" frijazz, österländska tongångar och ny återhållen improvisation vilket får musiken att rikta sig både utåt och inåt. I exempelvis "A Dispatch from Reuters" är trycket högt, Thieke har en fin glöd och använder ett brett register av klarinetten medan Griener och Weber harvar och rullar i den luftiga, men ändå tryckande ljudbilden. Den senare delen av "A Bullet for Joey" går också i den hårda skolan där Thieke bytt till het altsax med spräckliga färger. Många av låtarna är dock mer återhållna och långt ljudande (men låtarna är relativt korta, mellan fyra och sju minuter). I "East is West" finns ett uns av österländsk karaktär i Thiekes nästan droneliknande klarinett. Det känns givande att trion - förutom i "Two Seconds" - inte går över i det rent ljudskapande. I stället är det hållna toner som når ut i ljudrummet, inte minst när Weber använder stråken. Samtidigt får de österländska ingredienserna aldrig övertaget. Michael Thiekes spel är mycket variationsrikt, oavsett om det handlar om sax eller klarinett. Han utforskar instrumentens hela omfång, får dem att glöda, men drar också fram deras inre och mjukare klanger. Även om "The Amazing Dr Clitterhouses" har flera olika skepnader, lyckas trion hålla samman det hela på ett bra och intressant sätt. Många gånger befinner sig musiken i ett gränsland, men det handlar ändå om jazz, om än en nutida och utvecklad form som inte alltid har swing i botten.
Magnus Olsson, SOUNDOFMUSIC.NU 06/2007
Einer neuen Strömung im Musikbusiness folgend, ja sie überholend, verzichten Thieke/Griener/Weber zur Gänze auf das Format CD und fordern ausschließlich und offensiv zum Internet-Download auf. Seit vielen Jahren existiert dieses Trio, jetzt erst veröffentlicht es die erste, rund 40 minütige Arbeit als Mitschnitt aus dem Proberaum. Dichter vielgestaltiger Freejazz, ganz im Sinne der Labelphilosophie, kennzeichnet die Kooperation der vielerorts beschäftigten Berlin-Zürich-Connection. Das hat man alles schon woanders gehört, dennoch ziert "The Amazing Dr. Clitterhouse" eine feingliedrige Handschrift und eine emphatische Herangehensweise, die den stilistischen Aufguss in jedem Moment seiner Umsetzung rechtfertigt. Nichts Neues unter der Sonne, aber das Alte mit (Herzens-)Wärme und viel Gefühl.
Andreas Fellinger FREISTIL (A) 07/2007
Wie der 1968 in Nürnberg geborene Drummer Griener ist auch der 4 Jahre jüngere Düsseldorfer Klarinettist & Altosaxophonist Thieke Mitte der 90er dem Sog Berlins gefolgt. Mit Projekten wie Nickendes Perlgras, The International Nothing, The Magic I.D., Unununium, Hotelgäste, Demontage oder Schwimmer und Neigungen zu abstrakten Minimalismen, diskreten Dynamiken und geistesgegenwärtigem NowJazz gehört er zum internationalen Improrhizom. Herr Griener, der sich seit seiner Neuen Deutschen Jazzpreisauszeichnung 2006 offiziell ‚kreativster Solist‘ schimpfen darf, engagiert sich im Ulrich Gumpert Quartett oder mit dem Ex-Würzburger Martin Klingeberg in Babybonk und mit Thieke fand er Anschluss an die Lissabonner Creative Sources-Familie. Dem Zürcher -> Signal Quintet-Bassisten Christian Weber begegnen wir hiermit nun zum dritten Mal. Beim Downloadrelease von TGW zeigen der bowlerbehütete Nürnberger und seine Mitstreiter sich als Edward G. Robinson-Fans. Auf den kieksig-quirligen Auftakt ‚A Dispatch from Reuter‘s‘ folgt das dunkel-verhuschte ‚East is West‘ mit Haltetönen, die ins Diskante kippen, Cymbalsustain und brummigen Bogenstrichen. Danach beginnt ‚A Bullet for Joey‘ mit Schlagzeugbreitseiten, Bassgesäge und vehementem Altogestöcher à la Evan Parker, das sich mit Windmühlschlägen Grieners auf einen Dumdumpuls eingroovt. ‚Two Weeks in Another Town‘ ist ein neurotischer Blues, mit nervösen Pizzikati und quäkiger Borderlineklarinette, gefolgt von ‚Unholy Partners‘ mit heimlichtuerischer Klarinette und tröpfeliger Begleitung, die aber mit Besenwischern und hellem Schimmern ganz feinfühlig wird. ‚Two Seconds‘ mischt Brummbass mit perkussivem Muschelgeklapper, bis, von Thieke angestachelt, die Rhythmik schwerfällig Tritt fasst, sich gleich aber in einen einsilbigen Bass-Drums-Dialog verstrickt, in den das Alto sich spuckig und krächzend einmischt. Bleibt noch ‚Key Largo‘ in seiner angerauten Innigkeit als 7. Beleg, dass die Klarinette des Düsseldorfers das Spektrum von Ben Goldberg - François Houle - Michael Moore - Claudio Puntin - Perry Robinson mit einem markanten T wie Thieke erweitert.
Rigobert Dittmann, BAD ALCHEMY (D) 07/2007
Practically doctoral theses on reed tone manipulation, these four CDs mostly parse the textures and timbres available from the most traditional of woodwinds – the clarinet. Furthermore, with the personnel on the discs Berlin-based, the sessions not only highlight the surge of creativity taking place in the formerly divided German city, but also demonstrate how diverse tone generation and interactions create widely disparate results. Three of the four CDs feature Düsseldorf native Michael Thieke, who moved to Berlin in 1993. Working in duo, trio and quartet formations, his discs range from all-acoustic Free Jazz (The Amazing Dr. Clitterhouse) to minimalist Free Improv (the ironically named Maintream), with the third session (Where Should I Fly Not To Be Sad, My Dear?) slotted somewhere in between. First Time I Ever Saw Your Face is something else again. It lines up Dannenberg-born clarinetist Kai Fagaschinski – who also partners Thieke on Mainstream – with sound manipulator Christof Kurzmann. Vienna-born Kurzmann, who also plays clarinet on the CD’s longest track, otherwise mixes and contrasts Fagaschinski’s woodwind resonance with lloopp software, devices specifically designed for live improvising. There are other interconnections as well. Two of First Time…’s tracks feature the reedman improvising along with Kurzmann’s manipulation of a sample of Roberta Flack’s vocal version of the title ballad. Meanwhile Margareth Kammerer – who regularly performs in a trio with Fagaschinski and Kurzmann – sings and plays guitar on one of Mainstream’s tracks; while Kurzmann’s voice and remixes are featured on another. Another of the CD’s tunes adds two bassists: Derek Shirley, who is also in the band with Thieke on Where Should…, and Christian Weber, who holds down the bass chair on The Amazing…. That less than 38½-minute CD is a prime reminder that the reductionist ethos celebrated on the other CDs isn’t the only sound coming out of Berlin. Each of Thieke’s seven compositions is a prime slice of go-for-broke Energy Music. Besides highlighting his alto saxophone, alto clarinet and clarinet playing, there’s a place for his rhythm section mates as well. Proffering high-end rhythmic interventions is Zürich-native Weber – who among many others, has played with American saxophonist Charles Gayle and Swiss pianist Irène Schweizer; while the percussion add-ons result from the inventions of Nürenberg native Michael Griener, who has backed soloists as disparate as experimental trumpeter Axel Dörner and traditional jazz guitarist Herb Ellis. Bobbing, ebbing and flowing in the currents available from breath, strokes and motion, the co-op trio parties like it’s 1969, the zenith of outer-directed Free Jazz. Writhing and wiggling timbres that are wrenched from his body tube and bell rather than his reed and mouthpiece, Thieke’s multiphonic showpieces are still profoundly logical. It may seem as if he’s shoving more notes into an aperture than can comfortably absorb them, but unsurprisingly the shape of these instant compositions immediately distends to fit. Altissimo cries and irregular vibrations characterize his alto saxophone lines, which are then wedged firmly among the extended techniques of the other trio members. On clarinet his legato tone sometimes suggests the sort of absolute music he and Fagaschinski play in tandem elsewhere, or remain body-tube vibrations. On both reeds his most common strategy is to repeatedly parse particular note clusters until he’s wrung every last variation from them. As easily able to sound a shuffle beat as bounces and ruffs, Griener’s clattering cymbals often mix it up with Weber’s chiming bass lines; and, depending on the situation, rhythmic accompaniment also results from chain rattling or stick whacks that are as regular as hoof beats. For his part Weber’s walks as easily as he scoots up and down the strings and thumps percussively at points as conclusively as his sul tasto sweeps define other pieces. There’s similar variety of themes from near-mainstream to experimental on Where Should…. However bassist Shirley and drummer Eric Schaefer – also part of the band Nickendes Peklgras with Thieke – seem to take back seats to the improvisations of the reedist and Rome-native Luca Venitucci on accordion and prepared piano. A member of Zeitkratzer, Venitucci has also worked with daxophone inventor Hans Reichel and Japanese tape artist Merzbow. Some of the nine tracks here gain their ever-shifting coloration from the keyboardist’s mercurial playing. On accordion he produces ragged quivering peeps, with the rubato bellow textures adding rustic cohesiveness. Preparations are less audible except for a certain underlying connectivity, and a section on “if i think, again, of this place” where melodic counterpoint appears between mellow clarinet pitches and marimba-like pitter patter. Many more of the performances are shaped by Thieke’s zither, whose resonation resembles those you would get from violently scraping the teeth of a metal comb and amplifying the results. As the reedist’s textures vary from pencil-thin forced finger vibratos to short reed bites, often it’s a combination of these metallic teeth scrapes and organ-like bellow pulses that shape the tune. Agitato as opposed to the languid pace of many of the other tracks, “nach aussen gewölbte mönche” is an example of this with Venitucci-Thieke percussively in double counterpoint introducing irregularly paced drum beats that in turn regulate Thieke’s pitch-sliding alto saxophone quacks and smears to a fitting climax. Both Shirley and Schaefer make their presence known on “der verfolger” where an understated bass line and resonating tubular bells set the scene. Following an interlude where gently curving clarinet lines are ornamented by push-and-pull quivers from the squeeze box, the drummer’s buoyant pops interface with Thieke’s distinctive double-tonguing. Although there’s no keyboard in sight, the duo tracks on Maintream also suggest pipe-organ-style polyphony. That’s because the union of cohesive reed tones ululate with formalist layering. Capillary grace notes, chalumeau resonation and coloratura obbligatos are part of these exercises. At points, such as on “wenn alles weh tut und nichts mehr geht”, the dual clarinet polyharmonies are overlaid on top of one another so that they shimmer with additional multiphonics. Encompassing zart textures that reference both medieval-styled chanting and hypnotic pitch sliding, the mood is only shattered when reed bites upset the tone or the sharp intake of breath is heard. Elsewhere, organic pulsations ascend to squeaking altissimo only to slide down to almost hollow passages that sound as if air is being forced through PVC tubes. Working as a double duo with Shirley and Weber on “lovetone”, a fuller, more multi-layered sound is produced as sul tasto bass work extends undulating reed slurs in broken octaves. As the almost 9½-minute tune evolves from piano to fortissimo, a crunching bass lines helps isolate the two reed timbres, one of which gets higher-pitched, the other lower. Trimbral contrasts created by Kurzmann’s vocalizing in German and English and remixed sequencing may append further reed textures to the one track on which he’s featured, but the end product isn’t as developed as what the Viennese mix master does on First Time…. Additionally, while Kammerer’s singing on “and the morning” may adumbrate the delicate manipulation on First Time…, the trio work here sounds more decorative than anything else. Overall, her bossa-nova style guitar strumming and soprano voice may be harmonically compatible with the double reedists. But even when the instrumentalists go beyond those strictures and vibrate reed textures irregularly, it sounds as if the two are merely taking the place of acoustic guitar accompaniment than participating in a full partnership. A matched vocal-instrumental affiliation is more viable throughout First Time… however, because Flack’s contribution is sampled, not live and controlled as he sees fit by Kurzmann’s lloopp device. Both on the title track and on “Roberta (reprise)”, after a theme statement, her impassioned singing dissolves into sound atoms and is replicated then replaced by chalumeau tinctures from Fagaschinski’s clarinet. Even at those points, before Fagaschinski’s carefully measured arpeggios begin to fade, software mulches the split-tone smears and lip-bubbling textures into abstract droning signals, as non-instrumentally specific as they are non-vocal. Otherwise, the counterpoint here is between man and machine. Motor-driven pulses share space with lip sputtering, while single intakes of breath and mouse-squeaking reed timbres are displayed among triggered whooshes and flanges from the lloopp. Should Fagaschinski vibrate split tones, suggesting both high-pitched and low-pitched respired textures, then blurry intimations of backwards-running tapes from Kurzmann’s devices connect them into a single solid ululating tone. Clattering and twisted mechanized crashes and crackles provide the third voice on “Chow”, which finds both Fagaschinski and Kurzmann on clarinets. Harsh, slurring and with definite woody overtones, Fagaschinski’s reed-biting and tongue-stopping altissimo passages command centre stage as muzzy, disconnected lines from the second reed vibrate and sampled snatches of a child singing is also heard. Eventually the harmonica-like chromatic note patterns from the dual reeds are isolated from the spinning, interchangeable, software-created tones. Interactive as well as detached, Fagaschinski’s acoustic chirps eventually turn pastoral, the better to contrast with the post-industrial revolution polyrhythms of Kurzmann’s devices. Taking ostensive pop sources as raw material on which to build improvisations confirms that Berlin-based creators remain committed to finding unique forms of playing and composing. Each of these CDs demonstrates different, equally valid, strategies.
Ken Waxman, JAZZ WORD (USA) 06/2007
michael thieke es un saxofonista activo en la escena berlinesa, aunque pasa temporadas en italia. su trabajo más conocido quizás sea como miembro del the clarinet trio (leo). lo suficientemente ecléctico como para moverse en sus proyectos entre el expresionismo free de rompe y rasga y el susurro y tenue soplido de la experimentación más minimal. "the amacing dr clitterhouse" (ayler) pertenece a su faceta mas sueltecita. otro de los tríos de power free que viene ofreciendo el sello.
O ZURRET D‘ARTAL (P)
This Ayler release features a trio of three relatively young European players who improvise wonderfully together on a series of shorter pieces, ranging from minimalist to rather intense. Although the album is rather short, clocking in at under 40 minutes total, the trio mixes up the feels from track to track while remaining satisfyingly free throughout. Most remarkable about this album is the fact that Thieke, Weber, and Griener are reliable in their ability to anticipate each others playing and build off of that, particularly between Weber and Griener on the busier tracks. Despite their relatively short discographies, all three have had experience playing with a variety of stalwarts: Thieke with Axel Dorner and Steve Lacy, Weber with Charles Gayle, Evan Parker and Elliot Sharpe, and Griener with players ranging from Tal Farlow and Mal Waldron to Alexander von Schlippenbach and Dave Liebman.
Mike Szajewski, WNUR (USA)
The group (Thieke, as, alto cl, cl; Weber, b; Griener, d; Berlin, Germany, 2/24/05) convened at the drummer’s rehearsal space for THE AMAZING DR. CLITTERHOUSE (Ayler 58), a short set of improvisations named for Hollywood films, mostly gangster movies of the Thirties and Forties. (A Dispatch From Reuters/ East is West/ A Bullet for Joey/ Two Weeks in Another Town/ Unholy Partners/ Two Seconds/ Key Largo; 38:17). Their normal mode is a skittish Freebop trio-logue, trading phrases and rephrases of the instant compositions, but they’ve got a lot of different areas to explore. The three keep most of the tracks hovering around the five minute mark. “Two Seconds” is the exception, a seven and a half minute excursion into nuanced realms of interaction. “East is West” opens very quietly, with held notes on alto, bowed bass, and careful cymbalwork, before growing more involved and mysterious as a kind of slithering tempo asserts itself. One of my favorite tracks, “A Bullet for Joey” starts out with a rollicking drum solo. Griener is then joined by the thick sounding bass of Weber and an excitable Thieke on alto for a romping 5 minutes. I’m not always fond of Thieke’s clarinet work, which, when he really gets going, tends toward the unpleasantly strident. But that’s about the only complaint here, except maybe the short playing time. Good stuff.
Stuart Kremsky, CADENCE (USA)
Ayler Records has recently been sneaking out some real gems as part of their download-only program. One such session is this fine (if oddly titled) trio featuring clarinetist and altoist Michael Thieke, bassist Christian Weber, and percussionist Michael Griener. I'm accustomed to hearing Thieke in stripped-down, very spacious sessions (and usually without a drummer) so I was immediately pleased to hear him rev it up like Francois Houle or Frank Gratkowski. As excitable as he can be here – shrieking and growling – he also has a patient way with tiny cell shapes, very Lacy-like (and his tone rules too). It's a satisfying session, taking in materials like the gorgeous billowing tone layers on "East is West" to the bustling alto on the crashing "A Bullet for Joey." I love the texture of Weber and Griener, which comes across best on seriously abstract pieces like "Two Seconds" – deep resounding bass tones and delicate waterdrop percussion framing the ragged alto. Nothing particularly new here, but it's very fine stuff.
Jason Bivins, SIGNAL TO NOISE (USA)
Il titolo di questo breve (38 minuti circa) lavoro del trio tedesco composto dal sassofonista Michael Thieke supportato dal bassista Christian Weber e dal batterista Michael Griener rimanda al film del 1938 di Anatole Litvak con Humphrey Bogart. Il trio è decisamente coeso, con la sezione ritmica che interagisce metronomicamente con il leader: il primo brano, A Dispatch From Reuters, è affidato ad un clarinetto meravigliosamente schizofrenico, che si produce in un diluvio di note spezzettate quasi fosse sul punto di disintegrarsi da un momento all’altro, esplorando nella fase finale del brano un fraseggio di ‘overtones’ ai limiti delle possibilità dell’ancia: il pezzo si conclude volutamente in modo sorprendente e brusco, lasciando spazio al rarefatto East Is West sostenuto dal basso di Weber suonato con l’arco. Note lunghe, tenute, espressioniste, impressionanti. Un nervoso, scatolante drumming introduce A Bullet For Joey, doppiato dal sax contralto che sembra dovere stilisticamente qualcosa a John Tchicai: siamo di fronte al brano più ‘americano’ del disco. Una melodia pazzoide e ghirigoreggiante conduce il groove di Two Weeks In Another Town, uno dei pezzi migliori, dove il trio esprime forse al meglio la telepatica interazione. Un altro episodio lirico è Unholy Partners dove al clarinetto, che si produce in un lamento giambico, risponde la sezione ritmica con eguale sensibilità e pacatezza (free…). Il seguente Two Seconds è il brano più lungo del disco, l’unico a varcare il limite dei cinque minuti spingendosi oltre i sette. Anche in questo caso la voce è sommessa, sax e basso suonato con l’arco disegnano uno scenario esangue che si anima poco dopo per estinguersi nuovamente, con un bell’assolo di Weber che lascia poi posto ad un delicatissimo intervento di Griener supportato qua e là dalle note soffiate del sax di Thieke, che porta a conclusione un brano dal sentore fortemente meditativo. Key Largo, il brano conclusivo, con il ritorno al clarinetto, inizia anch’esso senza deflagrazioni, con una frase di poche note tese alternate a silenzi espressivi, appena agitate dal discreto uso dei piatti di Griener: un assolo sinuoso del leader, le solenni arcate di Weber e il carillon percussivo di Griener conducono alla fine brano e disco. Nel complesso una prova ben valida, a testimoniare che ancora oggi non tutto il 'free europeo' (che, sappiamo, ha un sound proprio) esclude la lezione d’oltreoceano. Interessante è lo stile di Thieke, che qui privilegia il registro ‘chalumeau’ senza abbandonarsi eccessivamente, salvo che nel primo brano, a solismi irosi, dimostrando ancora una volta, se mai ce ne fosse bisogno, quanto Jimmy Giuffre fosse in anticipo sui tempi quando registrò il seminale ‘Free Fall’ con Paul Bley e Steve Swallow nel 1961. Quella era la scuola, questi gli allievi.
Paolo Cruciani, KATHODIK (I)