FMP/FREE MUSIC PRODUCTION - An Edition of Improvised Music 1989-2004


Bert Noglik


When he plays, one has the impression that he is almost oblivious to his surroundings, wholIy concentrated on the process of producing sound. A symbiosis of man and instrument pervaded by electric shockwaves, stimulated by pulsating life-blood, imbued by wild, yet disciplined fantasy. Joe Sachse solo - a synonym for uncompromising drive, thrilling dynamism and technical brilliance. Whatever Sachse puts his hand to reveals such complexity that one gets the impression he is involved in an exercise of seIf-duplication. He embodies both the brilliance of a solo-performer and the solidity of an accompanist, occasionally confronts himseIf as alter ego, enters into seIf-dialogue and produces orchestral blankets of sound. When Sachse, the guitarist then begins to knock, to rustIe with a plastic bag and to tap his foot thereby assuming the function of percussionist, we are vaguely reminded of the versatility of One Man Bands. It is his musical language - made up of particles of handed down tradition and his own ideas - which makes Joe Sachse stand out against the tradition of jazz while linking him with the genre. He has fiItered and modified material which has evolved through the years, putting his very personal mark on it. As his fingers fly over the strings and instrument body Sachse succeeds in producing sheer incredibIe feats of mastery. Yet the quality of his playing goes beyond the love! of technical perfection and breath-taking tricks. It is the will to communicate that unites him with the bards of the Blues and classical Jazz musicians. The musical construction Joe Sachse builds before our very ears reveals the strength of a sensitive disposition. Sachse constructs mobile architecture of sound, moved by intense emotion and almost indiscernabIe vibrations.

Those who know this guitarist will confirm his critical mind, sharp tongue and keen sense of humour. The European House, often quoted and more often sworn by, is for Sachse less a euphoric vision than the concept of a conflicting process of construction and reconstruction. Sachse fears the vengeance of the sea and the vengeance of the air, the revenge of nature ad the consequences of social mismanagement and neglect. Such reflections may determine one's disposition and yet Sachse's performance is too eccentric as to alIow itself to be categorized or narrowed down in any way. This attitude with which he plays can certainly be described as European. His relationship to Jazz standard is not unproblematica1, could nevertheless be described as caring. He remoulds musical material which has become the very essence of Jazz history into an individual style, an idioms with his own personal profiIe. He directs his glance through the standards; as through a window to the past and beyond to improvised music in a constant process of mutation. He gazes at Europe through the glamorous heritage of American music with attitude neither of conquered nor conqueror. He questions, contemplates: Oh Europe.

This is a live recording with no overdubbing or special effects. Sachse's musical personality can clearly be detected in the interplay of the rhythmically percussive with harmonious and melodious elements, often linking and overlapping different methods and techniques. Lightness and familiarity, a quasi artistic mobility combine with cryptic aestheticism. While his own musical ideas are reflected in those standard pieces he has adopted as his own, his personal compositions reveal the challenge with both musical and instrumental Jazz tradition in such a way as to discIose historical consciousness and innovative spirit. His seIf-willed flute solo almost imperceptibly weaves its way into the guitarist's suite - singing and blowing, gasping for breath, circularly breathing. Vengeance of the air. A guitar-player with the expressiveness of a saxophonist. Proven in duo with Peter Brötzmann. But then, that's another story. There are more tales to tell: of musical encounters with David Moss, George Lewis or Jon Rose, of the groups DoppelMoppel and Joint Adventure, of work bordering on performance together with Tadashi Endo, of a production with Jack Bruce and of Sachse's own ensembIes. The most diverse areas of experience converge in his solo-playing and also the most diverse impressions, most obviously apparent in the reference-Ioaded Last Battle. It might seem as if most battles of musical material have been fought. Similarities and dissimilarities in the treatment of the newly developed guitar vocabulary became particularly obvious a while ago during the tour involving Joe Sachse, Hans Reichel and John RusseIl. It is a collective process to which Joe Sachse makes his very personal contribution. Over the years the contours have become cIearer while the inner structure of his performance has become more complex. In this way the European House presents us with a fascinating insight into Sachse's workshop of sound.

Translation: Cristina CrawIey

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