This discography of musical work by the bassist Peter Kowald, who died in 2002, was compiled in honor of his 70th birthday. It includes an alphabetical catalogue of all 143 published recordings up to 2014 by and with Peter Kowald, as well as the cover designs and additional information relevant to the discography. The 208-page book also contains an index of all the films that Peter Kowald was involved in, texts by Bert Noglik, Floros Floridis, Wolfgang Schmidtke and Günter Baby Sommer, and several photos and drawings by Peter Kowald. A register of all the participating musicians makes this discography into a scholarly reference work of 20th century music history.
Considering its inherently percussive properties it’s sometimes easy to forget that the piano is, at heart, a stringed instrument. Spaniard Agustí Fernández gives listeners a far from gentle reminder of the instrument’s familial ties on this conclave with bassist Peter Kowald, recorded back in the summer of 2000. Neither man approaches his instrument from any sort of conventional stance until nearly halfway through the studio recital. The younger Fernández more than holds his own in the presence of the venerable Kowald. And as with his tandem meeting with Mats Gustafsson recently released as Critical Mass (Psi) there are various junctures where Fernández actually steals the show with his aggressive ingenuity and resolve toward stretching (and sometimes snapping) the physical parameters of the piano.
Über-lunged German saxophonist Peter Brötzmann teamed up with American vanguard legend Joe McPhee (who plays alto, tenor, trumpet, and pocket cornet here), bassist Kent Kessler, and drummer Michael Zerang (four-tenths of the Tentet Brötzmann toured and recorded with in the late '90s) for a single day of exchanging tunes and improvising in June 2002. McPhee and Brötzmann are perfect foils for one another on the front line. They both have requisite force, but McPhee is also a chameleon's player; he understands what lies in the spaces and knows how to make the most of it. His own compositions here, which account for over half the album, stress the kind of joint front-line melodies and close harmonics that create inner space in a tune – just check his two-part "Stone Poem" and his "Anticipation of the Next," dedicated to departed bassists Peter Kowald and Wilbur Morris, for evidence. Brötzmann offers some surprises here in his pieces as well, not the least of which is his reformulation of a hymn Thelonious Monk recorded shortly before his death, originally entitled "This Is My Story, This Is My Song." Titled "Blessed Assurance" here, it takes the hymn, moves through its changes twice, and extrapolates them through his solo and the band's collective improvisation. McPhee's trumpet is the perfect complement and the pair sound like Albert and Don Ayler swinging their chariots toward the heavenly gates. Likewise, the beautiful art-damaged composition "Pieces of Red, Green, and Blue" (supposedly written about a museum experience he and Brötzmann shared) offers killer honking saxophone phrases that are repeated, striated, warped, turned inside out and back on themselves, and finally exploded into intense and inspired group interplay. This is a fiery and yet accessible date that showcases many aspects of the two men not only as players, but as composers as well.
Passion is in actuality Peter Gabriel's soundtrack to the Martin Scorsese film The Last Temptation of Christ, retitled as a result of legal barriers; regardless of its name, however, there's no mistaking the record's stirring power. Like much of Gabriel's solo work, the album is a product of his continuing fascination with world music, which he employs here to create an exceptionally beautiful and atmospheric tapestry of sound perfectly evocative of the film's resonant spiritual drama; inspired by field recordings collected in areas as diverse as Turkey, Senegal, and Egypt, Passion achieves a cumulative effect clearly Middle Eastern in origin, yet its brilliant fusion of ancient and modern musics ultimately transcends both geography and time. Remarkably dramatic, even visual, it is not only Gabriel's best film work but deserving of serious consideration as his finest music of any kind; equally worthwhile is Passion – Sources, which assembles the original native recordings which served as his creative launching pad.