Friday, April 7, 2017
Gunter Baby Sommer, Le Piccole Cose, Live at Theater Gutersloh
As much as I have admired Sommer's drumming over the years I have never heard one of his groups, so this got my attention. With him is trumpeter Manfred Schoof, alto sax and alto clarinetist Gianluigi Trovesi, and bassist Antonio Borghini. Schoof was part of Sommer's 1979 quartet; the other members are new.
What I had hoped for took place that day when they appeared in concert (though I could not be sure beforehand what that would mean): everyone was in great form and the music covered a wide swath of avant jazz possibilities from classic Ornettian harmolodic swing to that which lies beyond.
Nicely fashioned compositional frameworks by Sommer (4), Schoof (2) and Trovesi (1) set the stage for some very fine improvisations and group interplay. Sommer's drum solos and ensemble work are masterful and incisive. He simply sounds great and very much at his best. Schoof and Trovesi more than keep up the pace. They sound as brilliant as ever. Borghini is a solid backbone to it all.
It is one of those albums that gets your ear-attention immediately and consistently. And it keeps blossoming forth the more you listen.
In short this is a great big happy surprise. 73-year-old Sommers still has it and the band is as exciting and capable as anything in the new jazz realm today. Drummers and their friends will dig this!