When Arnold Schoenberg and others first began their experiments in pantonality the musical community quickly became divided. Was this new music the natural outgrowth of the traditional classical music progression that had witnessed 11 note chords by Mahler and 12 note chords by Strauss wherein pantonality was the only logical next step possible, or was it a total rejection of everything classical music composers had held dear since the 1600s?
When jazz artists like Evan Parker and Tony Oxley thought seriously about the late work of John Coltrane, they came up with a free jazz concept they thought was the next logical step in musical progression. They weren’t the only ones for Ornette Coleman had already been working within his harmolodic framework for years. Again the question was asked, were these new approaches to jazz the natural outgrowth of the music’s progression or were they a total rejection of everything jazz had held dear since Louis Armstrong?
The music on Tales From 30 Unintentional Nights is at times difficult to listen to, yet at times there is a sublime beauty. The free jazz trio of Hans Koch on reeds and electronics, Martin Schutz on an electric 5-string cello and electronics, and Fredy Studer on drums and percussion, throw out their own set of challenges. At times they work to deconstruct simple parameters previously established, as on "9/29," resulting in a cacophony of electronically altered sounds and concepts, while at other times they seek to start at a cacophonic level and then reduce the tension, as on "9/25." Then at times the beauty of their music, as on "9/30," is undeniable.
These are artists who are truly not just in the moment, but are carefully listening to each other. They mix and mingle their own sounds, always following a collective mindset that seamlessly leads them on to the next step in the music’s evolution. Formal constructs are not important here, the free exchange of ideas is, and it is there where they succeed.
Recorded live over a series of 30 nights in Zurich, Switzerland, (the titles refer to the night on which the music was created), the music is, in final analysis, wonderful. Those looking for groove or beat or swing or traditional use of instrumental timbres should go elsewhere. For those looking for a stimulating, jazz-filtered experience of truly new music have no further to look.