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Sea of Lead by Agustí Fernández & Peter Kowald

Agustí Fernández is considered one of the greatest pianists, composers and improvisers in Spain; a gentleman with an open mind mixed into a sense of modest serenity. His playing carries with him an enormous amount of creativity, passion, intensity and dexterity. Year after year with Agustí Fernández's releases, he wins over more and more audiences.

Fernández’s career is filled with great achievements and his cooperation with international free improvisers such as Ramon Lopez, Evan Parker, Carlos Zingaro, Mat Maneri, William Parker, Assif Tsahar, and Barry Guy ( just to mention a few) is now recognized worldwide.

Agustís duo with Peter Kowald reminds us of the amazing qualities of the late Kowald on the strings with his arco technique and his virtuosity with the double bass. "Sea of Lead" literally blows free-jazz audiophiles away. This release is a phenomenal work that has great strength at its heart mixed in with contemplative moments.

The first piece of this CD is written in six parts. As soon as you listen to the playing of the strings and the improvisatory stretches of the piano, you feel a fast escalation of the pianist's dexterity at a hug finger speed toward a frenzy and nonetheless contemplative probe. From part I until part II of the suite, audiences can listen to the powerful improvisation played on the double bass and prepared piano. The duo incorporates a bit of melancholy and this intent moves the listener deeply. The fifth part of the suite is a surprise for the purity on the tones and the impressive technique of both musicians.

In "Tendrils," Kowald plays emotionally in tandem with Fernández, who effectively takes the hint with insight and care. "Three Voices" reveals Kowald's singing, a kind of powerful mantra alongside a Fernández going from a nearly classical style without metronomic verticality.

"Kowald's Dream," is Fernández's tribute to his cohort and friend Peter Kowald. The result is an exceptional solo, charged with emotion and innovativeness as was Kowald in his life. This CD is no more than forty-one minutes of perfection without losing sight of the importance in the quality of the music and at the cutting edge of what is called avant-garde. It is a delight not only because of the beauty in the compositions of Fernández and Kowald but also because of the emotional content.

Honestly speaking.... have you ever seen a pianist with his fingers bleeding after a concert? Well Fernandez is one of those! A special character with a strong fingerprint on the improvisation scene.

Additional Info

  • Artist / Group Name: Agustí Fernández & Peter Kowald
  • CD Title: Sea of Lead
  • Genre: Free Jazz / Avante Garde
  • Year Released: 2005
  • Record Label: Hopscotch Records
  • Tracks: Sea of Lead part I, Sea of Lead part II, Sea of Lead part III, Sea of Lead part IV, Sea of Lead part V, Sea of Lead part VI, Sea of Lead Part VII, Rhizomes, Tendrils, Three Voices, Kowalds Dream'
  • Musicians: Agustí Fernández (piano, prepared piano), Peter Kowald (double bass, vocals)

  • Rating: Five Stars
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