Following up on 2015’s eponymous debut, Strandwal is the sophomore release by From Wolves To Whales, a band comprised of four noteworthy mid-career improvisers from the US and Europe. This two-cd set documents an entire live concert by the quartet during their Fall 2017 European Tour, performing just outside of Amsterdam in the city of Haarlem. And it captures the amazing tension of four players transcending their significantly different musical aesthetics to produce a uniquely cohesive group sound.
The result never feels like a negotiation though – this band feels unwavering in its sense of purpose. But along the way they visit some of the energetic spaces that Rempis and Corsano are known to favor, dig deep into some of the timbral spaces that Wooley and Niggenkemper are masters of, and they don’t forget to throw in some starkly beautiful melodies here and there for good measure. Whatever these individual musicians tend to gravitate towards in other settings, each of them maintains a full arsenal of tools which may in fact be that much sharper for not always being used. And when they put them to work, the results are both surprising and compelling. Listen to Wooley’s burning solos in the higher energy sections of the record, or Rempis burying himself quietly behind Corsano and Niggenkemper as an added color in some of the more austere sections.
This music raises a celebratory middle finger to those who might try to pigeon-hole individual improvisers into a particular box. These four know how to come together in the service of an ensemble music, and their mutual respect pays off in a band and a music that fearlessly tackles new territory.
Nate Wooley - trumpet
Dave Rempis - alto saxophone
Pascal Niggenkemper - bass
Chris Corsano – drums
1) Hook and Cod 29:16
2) IJ 09:51
1) Spaarne 28:41
2) For Kenau 12:52
recorded live November 14th, 2017 by Arno Duivestein at De Pletterij
Mixed and Mastered by Dave Zuchowski
all compositions by Wooley/Rempis/Niggenkemper/Corsano
Design by Johnathan Crawford
Produced by Dave Rempis
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