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Varpai by André/Tokar/Kugel Varpai

For an ensemble to create a lengthy recording of improvised music worthy of an attentive audience, it takes a unique combination of technique and empathy. Such is the case with Varpai from the German-based trio of vocalist André Pabarciuté, bassist Mark Tokar and percussionist Klaus Kugel. The three like-minded artists perform through ten, seamlessly connected pieces with a strong sense of musical connectedness, impressively void of pretension.

With emotional wails and melodious, nasally grunts, Pabarciuté displays a broad vocal range, at times matching the bowed upper-register riffs of Tokar's bass with horn-like acumen. On the opening "Symphonic Fields," for example, the vocalist finds space for soothing tranquility, only to be disrupted with forceful aggression, matching the mood of her cohorts.

Tokar's larger-than-life tone and impeccable intonation is front-and-center with pizzicato runs on "Play or What?" and arco drones on "Sacred Forest Trio." The latter features telepathic-like communication between bass and voice.

Kugel, a veteran of the renowned Ganelin Trio, acts as a skilful colorist, utilizing a variety of percussion to create varied and rich shadings. At times bombastic, at times sparse, Kugel chooses his sounds wisely, either reacting to what he hears or initiating a change in direction.

Varpai is a fresh, spontaneous sonic delight. An enjoyable listening experience.

Additional Info

  • Artist / Group Name: André/Tokar/Kugel Varpai
  • CD Title: Varpai
  • Genre: Free Jazz / Avante Garde
  • Year Released: 2010
  • Record Label: NEMU Records
  • Rating: Five Stars
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