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WER018, November 2015

WER018 URS LEIMGRUBER
ALEX HBUER
Lightnings




Urs Leimgruber saxophones
Alex Huber drums

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Die beiden Musiker begeben sich in dieser Duo Konstellation auf eine lange Reise auf der Suche nach dem Sound. Dabei kreuzen sie die Wege des Minimal, des Freejazz oder des mongolischen Obertongesangs, um nur einige zu nennen. Zudem ist ein Bezug zur Tradition der Konstellation Saxophon / Drums immer spürbar. Dieser Mitschnitt des Livekonzerts aus dem Kunsthaus Zug, repräsentiert alle Facetten dieses strahlenden Duos.

Recorded live by Alex Huber at Kunsthaus Zug, March 7th 2014
Mixed & Mastered by Alex Huber
All compositions by Urs Leimgruber (Suisa) & Alex Huber (Suisa)
Photography by Florian Holzherr, München
Design and Layout by Peter Murray
Produced by Alex Huber


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Press Reviews

Ken Waxman, Jazzword (1.11.2016)

One of the advantages of committed Free improvisation is that like a spider, it frequently can grow new limbs to solidify its evolution while maintaining its habitual structure. In some cases these newly grown extremities result from relationships with new musicians. These CDs show how a veteran free player, like a chess master’s initial match with a contender, quickly decides which strategies work and which should be altered in a new situation.

Lucerne-based soprano and tenor saxophonist Urs Leimgruber has been involved with stretching the boundaries of improvisation for decades, first as part of the band OM, then collaborating with figures as disparate as pianist John Wolf Brennan and bassist Jo'lle Léandre. Only infrequently does he record in duo, yet each of those CDs is a first-time meeting as well as a two-person exploration. On Lightnings, Leimgruber duets with drummer Alex Huber from Zug, whose other reed partners have included Silke Eberhard and Philipp Gropper. Pale White Shout finds the saxophonist in the company of Berlin-based guitarist Andreas Willers Involved in advanced music sine the 1980s, Willers’ more recent reed associates have been Frank Paul Schubert and Peter Van Huffel.

Like a fulfilled prophecy Lightnings’ drum-saxophones format brings out the most overtly John Coltrane-like phasing from Leimgruber as well as tracks close to Free Jazz. Like unexpected spices added to a stew, these tangy additions flavor the narrative in unxpect6ed ways. Not only do they allow the tenor saxophonist to position some masterful reed designators in the repast, but they also help swirl into a pleasing dish, disparate raw ingredients that appeared singly as cymbal crumbles and jagged wedges of fowl-like peeping on the saxophonist’s part. With Huber matching Leimgruber’s output sympathetically, the result is a balanced partnership which extends an accepted duo practice while framing it with Swiss efficiency. While the introductory and concluding tracks map the inflated and diminished menu of timbral interaction, often plating them like paired appetizers or spectacularly showcasing them in isolation, kitchen-crew-like cooperation is most appetizing during the main courses of “Shaped” and “Resistant”. As carefully organized as dinner at a Michelin-starred resto, the first feast works up from appetizers t as tonic as they are minimal, to a synthesis of cymbal pops and rim shots that glaze narrow circular breathed slurs that could be musical nouvelle cuisine. With more tongue in his slaps than is available at most delicatessens, Leimgruber aurally displays the main course on “Resistant”. Eventually his winnowing flutters move to a feast of accented timbres and watery blows perfectly complemented by garbage-can-like smacks and clatters from Huber.

AllAboutJazz (Glenn Astarita, 2015)
Wide Ear Records is a nascent Swiss experimental jazz label, co- founded by drummer Alex Huber who performs here, in a duo setting with his fellow countryman and eminent improviser, saxophonist Urs Leimgruber. Hence, the musicians generate some cerebral merry-making on this set via the saxophonist's gyrating and stunted battle cries and the customary call and response processes, integrated with Huber's highly musical approach. The 4 tracks spawn a hodgepodge of torrential downpours and quieter parts, constructed on menacing flows and Leimgruber's bristling 16th note flurries for a program that stacks up to be a perpetual discovery process.

"Resistant" is an extended workout where the duo pulls out the proverbial stops amid the saxophonist's creaky phrasings and angular eruptions. Here, the musicians seemingly dictate the current with emotive proclivities, sketched with spontaneous combustion and temperate or inward-looking dialogues. Huber does more than simply sustain an asymmetrical groove by using his brushes and percussion arsenal to counteract or mimic his partner's line of attack. They frame many of the sequences on tonal shifts, but towards the end, Leimgruber imparts a free-bop modus operandi with succinct melodies and bluesy choruses as the artists step up the pace, featuring their adept use of space. No doubt, it's a raw and stripped-down improv fest, driven by the duo's forthright voyage into parts unknown.

http://www.jazzword.com/one-review/?id=129178

Robert D. Rusch, Cadence Magazine

It’s been a few years since I remember hearing anything from URS LEIMGRUBER [saxes], a musician active with European free sounds easily since the ’70s. LIGHTNINGS [Wide Ear Records 018] finds Leimgruber in duo with drummer ALEX HUBER on a 3/7/14 free blow. Four improvs [55:40] have the duo producing any and all sounds their instruments are capable of making. This ranges from what sounds like electronic feedback squeals (from the saxes) to random percussive clashes. It’s all very spontaneous, there are parts that move me but they are random (Except for the third track which is pretty consistently powerful) and I have to single them out from the unfocused parts. If in fact Leimgruber has been on a sabbatical of sorts it is good to have him back, even with the extremes.


Bad Alchemy, Rigobert Dittmann

URS LEIMGRUBER / ALEX HUBER Lightnings (Wide Ear Records, WER018): Live im Kunsthaus Zug entstanden am 7.3.2014 diese Duette mit Tenor- & Sopranosax (seitens Urs-L) und Drums & Percussion (seitens Alex-H). Das Luzerner Drittel von Leimgruber-Demierre-Phillips, Viertel von S4 und Sechstel von 6ix nimmt sich den uns mit Chimaira und Lauren Kinsella bekannten Perkussionisten, trotz des Altersabstandes, auf Augenhöhe zur Brust. Der kunsthaltige Rahmen verstärkt ihre Neigung zu zugleich abstrakter und konkreter Bruitistik. Huber reagiert auf die sopranistischen Klangspaltungen und den schillernden Feinschliff seines Partners mit Spieluhrklang und feinmechanischer Perkussivität. In sprudelnder Diskanz expliziert Leimgruber die Unendlichkeit des Fraktalen, dessen rauen Ränder und spitzen Winkel. Jede Kakophonie ein muybridgesches Daumenkino, ein zirkulatbeatmetes Flickern und Keckern. Aus einer Mundvoll Spucke wird Entensuppe, aus Beinahenichts etwas schrill Gespießtes, Huber zirpt dazu an Metallkanten, tockelt am Unterbau. Gequetschte und gekrümmte Töne und halbsonore mit allerdings strengem Ziegenduft harmoniert mit Tomtomgemurmel und Beckenschauer. Huber schlägt Rührei, klackt, rührt und rollt, bis es groovt, und Leimgruber groovt mit, Hals über Kopf in einer Gießkanne. Seine Zunge gespalten, gepfeffert oder galvanisiert, Hubers Hände umgetrieben von nervösen Tics. Der eine pustet Verstopftes, schrillt windschief durch engste Spalten, der andere krümpelt und nestelt mit Krimskrams, wuselt auf Pfoten, rumpumpelt an der Trommel. Leimgruber kennt weder hässlich noch falsch, je schiefer und quäkiger, desto kurioser und köstlicher. Jederzeit könnte er wie Steve Lacy oder braxtonifiziert klingen, aber warum sollte er? 'Resistant' fetzt minutenlang wie Sau und löst den "Rock'n'Roll"-Alarm aus. 'Struck' zeigt Leimgruber am Tenor nochmal gießkannophon und Huber als Eisenzieher und Rumoristen, den das große Zittern befällt, als Leimi - moonstruck - plötzlich die halbe Zitrone da oben anzuhimmeln beginnt, so träumerisch wie himmelschreiend. Da kann ich nur "En Guetä" auf der Ohrenweide wünschen. [BA 88 rbd]