"Niko Schäuble and I have played in pretty much every musical context I've been involved with since I first met him in 1988.
He was in my Tonight Show band, my sextet and trio and the Australian Art Orchestra, he's played on and helped orchestrate the odd film score and recorded my music in his Pughouse Studios. We've played everywhere from remote aboriginal communities to stages in Berlin, Bogota and Brooklyn. It's been a rich and rewarding relationship, and one which has matured into an almost telepathic understanding of each other's musical language. On this disk, you will here all of the music recorded during a couple of hours of playing at Pughouse, with me on his heirloom 1930's German grand. No discussions, just hit Record and go for it. The witnesses were Niko's son Tillman, and his dog, Shmit the aforementioned pug (or rather pugalier).
"I always have a good time playing with Niko; it was relaxed, and after a couple of hours we figured we'd had enough, and that was that. Then I listened to the music, and so did he. The weird thing was that so many synchronous things had happened during the course of the playing, that without really thinking about it, we had 'composed' all these little pieces. Magic happened: tiny things, sometimes, like sudden simultaneous tempo adjustments, or shared decisions about whether, or how, to fill a void; sometimes big things, like whole phrases played in unison, or sudden, inexplicable decisions to stop.
"We decided to include everything recorded that morning: the only editorial decisions concerned the track order and the titles.
"We played. It was a game scenario, hence the title: Spiel.
"On behalf of us both, thanks for listening."
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