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J’aime ce duo pour ses   éclats et son franc-jouer. J’aime ce duo parce que les harmoniques de l’un et de l’autre sont fielleuses à souhait. J’aime ce duo parce que leur liberté d’action est immense.

J’aime ce duo parce gu’ils ne débordent jamais pour rien. J’aime ce duo parce que leur musique a oublié d’être agréable. J’aime ce duo parce que le coupant entre dans leur royaume. J’aime ce duo parce qu’ils envoient valser la joliesse aux oubliettes. J’aime ce duo parce que l’un ne récupère ou ne copie jamais l’autre. J’aime ce duo parce que leurs thèmes sont sinueux, toujours à la limite de la sécheresse. J’aime ce duo parce qu’ils connaissent l’exacte définition de la saccade. J’aime ce duo parce que quand l’un grouille, l’autre bourdonne. J’aime ce duo parce qu’en soixante-dix minutes, je n’ai jamais connu une minute d’ennui.

Vous l’aurez compris: j’aime ce duo. — Luc Bouquet,   Improjazz



Here’s a duo record that   confounds the lazy — and often mystifying — assumption that the language of duo improvisation is some kind of “conversation”. Sometimes improvisation works most effectively when there is no evidence negotiation or even communication between the two elements. That isn’t quite the case here, but electric guitarist Scott Fields and tenor saxophonist Matthias Schubert have the mutual confidence to pursue independent lines in parallel. Strictly, these are Fields’ lines, since “Dipstick Triptych", “Santa on a Segway” and “Gidget Widget Wacker” are his compositions, but the execution is bipartisan, clever and supremely confident, like two opinionated guys who don’t see the need to wait for the other to pause before they get their two cent’s worth. — Brian Morton,   The Wire



I am not overly familiar   with either Scott Fields, electric guitarist, or Matthias Schubert, tenorist, but after hearing their duet offering Minaret Minuets (Clean Feed 213) a number of times, I must say that they’ve made an impression on me that wont be easily eradicated. A good impression, I mean.

Scott contributes the compositions, all save one, which is by Matthias. In those charts/routines I hear the constructive influence of Anthony Braxton and Roscoe Mitchell, especially in the darting about asymmetrically through register skips and jumps, and the repetition of tone and sound color phrases — as both a compositional tact and a means to gradually launch into related improvisational work. There isn’t just some sort of imitation; these elements are creatively integrated into the Fields-Schubert duet dynamic. And they are made to springboard the artists into solid avant improvisatory territory where their own personal identities come to the fore. Plus there are other compositional elements that move the music in other directions as well. The point is that the compositional frameworks are strong, memorable, and a great way to structure the freedom of the improvisations.

Both Fields and Schubert have developed sound and style inventiveness on their instruments to a fine point. These are originals, both. Fields, perhaps in part because there are relatively few avant electricians in the guitar realm who successfully develop and sustain identities of their own, has the greater impact on my ears. He plays irregular and unusual phrases with great fluidity, can vary the articulation of attack in many subtle ways, and his melodic-harmonic sensibility is woven into a whole, unified cloth. Schubert shares with Fields a tumble-and-turn rhythmic feel that serves both well. He is adept at coming up with pivotal figures that set things up for a Fields improvisation (and vice versa) and he maintains throughout a sure-footed robust or whispering tenor attack and an extremely fertile variational imagination.

The two together are remarkable in many ways, but especially for me in the way they flow ideas together without strict tempo or even without any tempo whatsoever. Their duets move along in ways that make sense and bring listener appreciation to a high level.

These are without a doubt some of the most interesting and successful sax-guitar avant improvisations I have had the pleasure to hear. I hope the two do more and continue to work together in duet and with other simpatico players. Definitely recommended! — Grego Applegate Edwards,   Gapplegate Guitar and Bass Blog



There is a great deal   of space for electric guitarist Scott Fields and tenor saxophonist Matthias Schubert to fill on this recent duo outing. Clean Feed offers this description on their site: “In the Minaret Minuets system there are two separate but equal branches: the electric guitar and the tenor saxophone. Composer slash instrumentalists — those roles smear — Scott Fields and Matthias Schubert find myriad methods to blend and contrast, to appear to be at one moment a larger ensemble and then to sound as just one.”

I do not think I could have composed a better summation of the music within — the tracks feel organically grown and composed by the spontaneous reactions between the musicians, running the gamut from tiny sounds produced by the acoustics surrounding the instruments to playing at their extremes. Without the grounding of bass or percussion and sans any traditional song structure, all emphasis is shifted to the musician’s interplay and sonic atmosphere.

For example, there is a passage about halfway into the extended “Willie’s Billy Beer” where the guitar melody skitters over light saxophonic flatulence. So intimate, barely making a sound, the woodwind’s breathiness provides just enough subtle support for the delicate melody. Soon, everything from key clicks to short snippets of melody from the sax begin interacting with string scratches and muted pickings. It’s the textures of sound bouncing off each other that make such sparse moments so effective. Their approach seems to capture emotions and subconscious thoughts more than overt statements.

But all is not calm, while there are great expanses of ruminative rambling, there are also moments of rambunctious raucousness. The 7-minute “Multi Trill” begins exhilaratingly — all skronk und drang — but eventually settles into a more lyrical flow. “Santa on a Segway” has moments of sweetness and synergy where the rhythms and tones between the two players meld delightfully.

This is a long recording — clocking in around the 75 minutes mark and while it takes some determination to sit through the whole event, it takes its time to unfold and contains many interesting passages that make it worth the listen. At any one point the guitar may be laying down a rhythmic single note figure and then drop in some chords while the sax bounces melodic figured off the morphing structures, then the roles may shift or transform into other shapes and sounds.

This is a conversation that never ends — it’s one held in music and while there may be lulls and heated moments, there is no time when the ideas dry up. 4 stars — Paul Acquaro,   Free Jazz Blogspot



Es gibt Neues von Scott  Fields, dem WahlKölner aus Chicago, der 1995 und (dank der Reissue) nochmals 2010 mit seinem “Fugu” — Ensemble so eindrucksvoll demonstriert hatte, wie schön improvisierte (Gitarren-)Musik sein kann, wenn sie ohne handwerkliche Brechstange gespielt wird. Und dann war es vom größeren Ensemble zum Duo für Scott nur noch ein kleiner, eigentlich logischer Schritt. Dialog, meint er, sei schließlich die ergiebigste Kommunikationsform. Nun also sein Duo mit dem Tenoristen Matthias Schubert, und wieder der Eindruck, dass es einem niemand leichter macht als Scott Fields und sein Partner, den Verhau an stilistischen Pseudo-Kennungen, Labels, Rubrizierungen, Kategorisierungen und Ein- oder Zuordnungen ganz schnell zu vergessen oder einfach für obsolet zu erklären.

Was Scott an der Gitarre und sein musikalischer Gesprächs-Partner am Sax hier in ihren sieben Zwiegesprächen zustandebringen, ist nichts weniger als der wieder wunderbar gelungene Versuch, von semantisch greifbaren Tete-a-tetes alles an semantisch Greifbarem zu subtrahieren. Übrig bleiben der dialogische Gestus und ein außerordentlich üppiger Strauß an Emotionen. Im letzten Stück, “GidgetWidget Wacker” wird sogar noch ein Stück weiter reduziert und sich konzentriert auf das nur noch wirklich Unentbehrliche: das Geräusch jenseits aller herkömmlicher Stimmlichkeit. Das ist musikalisch ob seiner Schönheit mal bewegend, mal spaßig, mal verblüffend. Und es ist einfach beeindruckend, was der Wille zum authentischen Zwiegespräch jenseits oder diesseits der Sprache der Wörter hervorzubringen vermag. Und wie sich Archetypisches, Vorzeitliches ins Heute einpasst, als wäre es schon immer mit dabei gewesen. Und das war’s ja auch. — Alexander Schmitz,   Jazz Podium



Dass sich Musiker aus der  “ganzen nahen und fernen Welt in Berlin zu neuen Projekten treffen, ist bereits oft erzählt worden. Zu diesen Wahlberlinern gehört auch Saxofonist Matthias Schubert, der aber mit Gitarrist und Klangerfinder Scott Fields immer noch seine Köln-Connection pflegt. Auf “Minaret Minuets” (Clean Feed/NRW) springen die beiden Meister der experimentellen Musik einmal mehr ins Unbekannte. Sie setzen zahlreiche Elemente zusammen, die eigentlich nicht zusammengehören. unterschiedlichste Zustände, Härte- und Dichtegrade, Abstraktionslevels, Melodie- und Struktureinheiten, Zeitebenen sowie Farblichkeiten werden in einen Topf geworfen und sorgsam sortiert und montiert. Nicht jede Kombination klingt logisch, und doch ergibt alles einen Sinn, denn sie folgen einer selbstdefinierten Logik des Lebens, die alles andere als vorhersehbar ist. — Wolf Kampmann,   Jazz Thing



Como explica Scott Fields nas  “liner notes” desta gravação com Matthias Schubert, tocar em duo é uma interessante interacção na medida em que, na ausência de elementos extra que possam interferir com a linguagem estabelecida, os diálogos tornam-se extremamente claros e direccionados. O silêncio optado por um dos músicos poderá dar uma nova luz ou criar uma tensão não antes percepcionada ao que o outro poderá estar a tocar. Deste mesmo modo, quando os dois tocam em simultâneo, criam-se explorações timbrais ou dinâmicas em que um instrumentista parece querer sobrepor-se ao outro e isso permite a geração de novos ângulos para levar a música em novas direcções.

Fields e Schubert passam o álbum a criar e a destruir dinâmicas e situações, nunca permitindo que a música ganhe uma forma totalmente definida. O que se impõe é mesmo o ser híbrido constituído pela junção da guitarra e do saxofone — por exemplo, Matthias Schubert tem uma articulação muito baseada no staccato, mimetizando várias vezes as sonoridades guitarrísticas.

Acontece, porém, que, quando a dupla entra num registo mais modal, as angularidades perdem-se em favor de uma linha mais contínua de exploração lírica. Além disso, os grunhidos e os registos mais abstractos ou minimais de Schubert nem sempre criam mais do que um vago interesse. Uma obra cerebral para se escutar com atenção. 3.5 stars — Pedro Sousa,   Jazz.pt



Applying laser to Minaret Minuets   (or playing the download), from electric guitarist Scott Fields and tenor saxophonist Matthias Schubert, recalls the early days of mono-into-stereo recordings. Back then you might hear the saxophonist coming from just one speaker. Where you sat in relation to your hi-fi set up was paramount. By unplugging one channel you would be able to create your own solo session. With Fields and Schubert, both strong soloists, you might be tempted to do the same, but, alas, modern engineers blend the channels for balanced listening.

Fields, an American free jazz player from 1960s’ Chicago, has transformed into a complex thinker and organizer of structured and intricate group interactions and improvisations. He moved to Germany a few years back and began working in Schubert’s jazz orchestra. The two have also collaborated on Fields’ ensemble recording, Beckett (Clean Feed, 2007), with John Hollenbeck and Scott Roller.

What stands out here is the multiple simple gestures made by each musician. Be it a saxophone’s flutter and breath or a guitar’s string of notes, each produces sounds that seem to shimmer or glow before dwindling away. The pair apply more space than might be expected. Is it in deference to the other? Perhaps. Maybe that is why the ear is drawn to a single speaker. Focusing on just one player would cause you to ignore the superb interaction of forces here. —Mark Corroto,   All About Jazz



Guitar/tenor sax duo. Guitarist   Fields has a couple dozen albums back to 1993. Schubert has four albums since 1992, including the well-regarded Blue and Grey Suite from 1994. They previously played together on Fields’ 2006 album Beckett. They're careful here to match up their tones, so you get close listening and interaction, even balance. Does run on rather long. (B+) —Tom Hull,   tomhull.com

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