Thieke, Griener & Weber - Amazing Dr. Clitterhouse

Ken Waxman, JazzWord

That less than 38½-minute CD is a prime reminder that the reductionist ethos celebrated on the other CDs isn't the only sound coming out of Berlin. Each of Thieke's seven compositions is a prime slice of go-for-broke Energy Music. Besides highlighting his alto saxophone, alto clarinet and clarinet playing, there's a place for his rhythm section mates as well.
Proffering high-end rhythmic interventions is Zürich-native Weber – who among many others, has played with American saxophonist Charles Gayle and Swiss pianist Irène Schweizer; while the percussion add-ons result from the inventions of Nürenberg native Michael Griener, who has backed soloists as disparate as experimental trumpeter Axel Dörner and traditional jazz guitarist Herb Ellis.

Bobbing, ebbing and flowing in the currents available from breath, strokes and motion, the co-op trio parties like it's 1969, the zenith of outer-directed Free Jazz. Writhing and wiggling timbres that are wrenched from his body tube and bell rather than his reed and mouthpiece, Thieke's multiphonic showpieces are still profoundly logical. It may seem as if he's shoving more notes into an aperture than can comfortably absorb them, but unsurprisingly the shape of these instant compositions immediately distends to fit.

Altissimo cries and irregular vibrations characterize his alto saxophone lines, which are then wedged firmly among the extended techniques of the other trio members. On clarinet his legato tone sometimes suggests the sort of absolute music he and Fagaschinski play in tandem elsewhere, or remain body-tube vibrations. On both reeds his most common strategy is to repeatedly parse particular note clusters until he's wrung every last variation from them.

As easily able to sound a shuffle beat as bounces and ruffs, Griener's clattering cymbals often mix it up with Weber's chiming bass lines; and, depending on the situation, rhythmic accompaniment also results from chain rattling or stick whacks that are as regular as hoof beats. For his part Weber's walks as easily as he scoots up and down the strings and thumps percussively at points as conclusively as his sul tasto sweeps define other pieces.