Lisbeth Quartett: Framed Frequencies: Release Information
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Release Date: 10.01.2014
TT Catalogue No: 4597
Lisbeth Quartet – Framed Frequencies
The Lisbeth Quartet is one of the youngest outfits in German jazz, yet they are anything but a newcomer. Since almost half a decade saxophonist Charlotte Greve, pianist Manuel Schmiedel, bassist Marc Muellbauer – the only bandmember of the older generation – and drummer Moritz Baumgärtner have been roughing up the German jazz scene with refreshing, seemingly light jazz substance, that doesn’t require any pose or revolt. Critics, national and abroad, were agreed that something fantastically great was formed with the Lisbeth Quartet, whose passionate implicitness is a pleasant contrast to the often conceptually overloaded remoteness from reality of the German jazz routine.
After the two albums “Grow” (2009) and “Constant Travelers” (2011), which won an ECHO Jazz in 2012, the Lisbeth Quartet is now presenting their third album “Framed Frequencies”. This fact alone deserves notice, since German jazz formations often only get together for one or two projects at most. As you would expect, “Framed Frequencies” testifies to continuity and at the same time to advancement. First of all the consistency is due to the unchanged line-up of the group. All four musicians are indeed extremely versatile, but have each also exhibited great loyalty to their own individual language throughout entirely different projects over the last years. When Greve, Schmiedel, Muellbauer and Baumgärtner get together they know exactly what they can expect from each other. This wholehearted trust in the reliability of the others ensures the basis of this structure, which is based on four equally strong pillars on “Framed Frequencies”.
However, there are also significant changes. Charlotte Greve und Manuel Schmiedel left the German capital and ended up in New York. Moritz Baumgärtner and Marc Muellbauer are still in Berlin. In times of the globalized Jazz exchange it is no problem to communicate from opposite sides of the big pond. Quite contrarily, it does the band good, that two of its members are facing a reality in New York, that confronts a musician with entirely different challenges than the comparatively safe and sound jazz world in Germany. If you’re not a top-class player in New York, you mercilessly go under. The resemblance of Berlin and New York is often brought up and yet the two metropolises seem like two dissimilar sisters, which demand completely different lifestyles and outlooks on life. This dual relationship to reality gives the Lisbeth Quartet a new inner tension on their third album.
So only an ocean lies between the two parties of the band – which is meant only geographically, not artistically. But after all it is nothing less than exactly that: an ocean. When you meet to rehearse, play or record in this situation, how you handle the time inevitably becomes very different. Thematically the Lisbeth Quartet has always been very focused, but still one can feel ardency and commitment on the new CD, which could not yet be detected in this fashion on the two previous albums. The pieces are thematically more compact and the album seems more coherent as a whole.
Actually this is not so astonishing, considering that for the first time the CD has a thematic bracket. In a way the cities New York and Berlin are islands, the first in a literal sense, the other more in a spiritual and historic way. The island is the central theme “Framed Frequencies” is about. Charlotte Greve, who wrote all compositions on the CD, also connects inner as well as outer conditions with the island subject. Situations, Greve states, “which are bounded. They have a clearly defined beginning and a clearly defined end. Even though they stand in a relation to their environment, they are primarily independent and lead a life of their own, which clearly distinguishes them from their environment.”
On an island the energy flows run differently than in their surroundings, so the saxophonist reflects. The boundary throws the energy back into the middle. The smaller the island condition – which is not always only spatially defined, but could also be a temporal determination – the more intensive is the effect. This is how the album title is meant; the concentration on the essential with an absolute optimization of the available means. There is not a single note on “Framed Frequencies”, that is not essential to the meaning of the piece. The band doesn’t only come to the point eventually, but rather gets right to the point immediately. A fixed, predetermined framework unharnesses a free, dynamic inner life. Composition is not limited to being the trigger for improvisation, but the improvisatory possibilities of the individual protagonists are rather integrated into the composition.
“Framed Frequencies” is an urban, continent and generation unifying treasure island of perspectives, which emerge for the future out of more than hundred years of jazz history.