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White Earth Streak

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Album Review

Highly abstract, and very much "of the moment," these 11 rare tracks are a good introduction to the sort of radical forays for which Günter Christmann and his colleagues are known. The first seven tracks were originally released in 1983 on the trans museq label, and tracks ten and 11 (recorded in Birmingham, Alabama, near where Smith and Williams were living at the time) were issued the same year on the same label as a 7" single, while untitled cuts eight and nine are released here for the first time. Little sounds predominate, with a prescient interaction present. The instrumentation might be best understood as trombone plus three strings (string bass, viola/ violin, and guitar/ banjo), with the trombone transformed in Christmann's characteristic way into something more (or less, depending on perspective) than the way the instrument is commonly perceived. "Song of an Aeropteryx" is a duo between LaDonna Smith and Davey Williams in which they perform on a total of eight instruments. As to be expected, there is nothing on any of the pieces resembling swing or any recognizable beat, but there is some remarkably intricate soloing that requires intense concentration and close listening by the players. Firmly in the "scratch 'n sniff" school, this recording transcends the minefields of the genre by reaching forward, never looking back, and maintaining a diversity of sound.


Born: 1942 in Srem, Poland

Genre: Jazz

Years Active: '70s, '80s, '90s, '00s

This Polish-born master of the avant-garde trombone got into improvising through jazz music from the other end of the spectrum, the early Dixieland style. He suffered from polio as a child, a disease that would later return to severely limit his touring activities in his later years. His first musical inspirations as a child were the New Orleans jazz sounds of Kid Ory and George Lewis, the earlier of the two jazz greats by this name — ironically both have a link to this German musician. The...
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White Earth Streak, Gunther Christmann
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