A deep excursion into the laboratory of Germany’s most important avant-garde jazz musician. This recording stands out as a milestone of breaking down barriers between genres.
Without any doubt Wolfgang Dauner is one of the world’s most versatile piano and keyboard players who has touched on literally every musical genre and – as a “holistic artist” – even stepped out beyond sound. From the very start of his curriculum musicae Dauner had a strong interest in overcoming clichés of standard jazz and, in every respect, developing new forms of composing and making music. At the same time he always was a down-to-earth man: He worked for TV and film, sketching soundtracks and creating music programs for children. Isolation and elite attitude was the last thing on his mind as he was always striving to mediate between jazz, rock and classical music. In the 1960s Bill Evans’ vocabulary was a starting point for his own language and stories. ”Free Action”, released in 1967, stands as an early and powerful manifest of some of his important ideas and until today ranges among the centrepieces of his discography. At that time Dauner was searching for a new possibility of collective composition and improvisation. He built a septet around his early trio mates Eberhard Weber (vcl) and Fred Braceful (dr): Jürgen Karg from the city of Saarbrücken is on bass whereas Krautrock legend Mani Neumeier functions as an energetic counterpart to the rather subtle playing of Braceful. The most prominent jazz violinist of that period, Jean-Luc Ponty, takes part as does tenor sax and clarinet player Gerd Dudek, also firmly anchored in the German free jazz scene. Thus, with two drummers and a bass as well as a cello player, he assembled a very unusual line-up, which allowed the musicians to focus on duos and dialogues in rarely heard constellations within the group. Before the recording session he manufactured a score for every one to enable new forms of direct interaction without the need of a band leader – interactions that also comprise spontaneity and the principle of coincidence. The five pieces on “Free Action” reflect different stages of unchaining from conventional forms: “Sketch Up And Downer” still grows out of a blues scheme, encouraging different dialogues among the musicians, “My Spanish Disguise” shows its origin in Iberian colours and rhythms, but than is alienated and makes use of micro-tonality. Most consequently Dauner realizes his concept of “free action” in “Disguise” and, certainly, “Free Action Shot”: The first one presents an Indian atmosphere at the beginning but then steers into “free waters” around Dauner’s prepared piano. In the latter he experiences with a new sign language conducting the musicians. Already 40 years ago Wolfgang Dauner proved to be the big explorer he remained until the present day. The original cover artwork being painted by himself this work comes as a very stimulating synthesis of the arts.
WOLFGANG DAUNER – piano, prepared piano
JEAN-LUC PONTY – violin
GERD DUDEK – tenor saxophone, clarinet
EBERHARD WEBER – cello
JÜRGEN KARG – bass
MANI NEUMEIER – drums on 1, 3, 4, 5, tabla on 2
FRED BRACEFUL – drums
Album produced by JOACHIM ERNST BERENDT / Recorded in 1967
(originally) SIDE I
(originally) SIDE II