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 Title:               Canvas

 By:                  Ab Baars & Zlatko Kaučič

 Released:       2015

 Format:          CD

 Catalog No:    MW 932-2

 EAN:                5901549185942

 Price :             12 EUR

Canvas by Ab Baars & Zlatko Kaučič album cover

1. Paint Up Your Visions 21:48

2. Strup 16:18

3. Vrtilljak 07:43

4. Polder Wind's 05:22

5. Mimogrede 05:59

6. Sputa 05:27

7. Almost Danceble 11:11


Ab Baars – saxes, clarinet

Zlatko Kaučič – drums & percussion


in Alchemia Club, Kraków on October 12, 2014

What the critics say:

Slovenian drummer/percussionist Zlatko Kaucic was very busy in 2013-2014. The meetup with pianist Milko Lazar for Ena / One took place between November, 2013 and March, 2014. The disc at hand finds Kaucic performing with Dutch reedman Ab Baars, recorded in October, 2014. Baars is well known in the free jazz side of the Dutch scene.  As expected, the music is quite different although the intent is the same: to bring together two free improvisers and see what happens. Recorded at the Alchemia Club in Krakow (no audience), (like the meeting between François Carrier and Rafal Mazur for Unknowable), Kaucic and Baars produced seven tracks that are at once mystifying, intimidating, amazing and a lot of fun.

The opening track "Paint Up Your Visions" is almost twenty-two minutes long and stops completely feigning an ending almost exactly in the middle. The sounds Baars gets are astounding, as is the interplay between him and Kaucic. What might seem chaotic at first takes on shape and form with close listening and a "letting go" or "wait and see" attitude. The intelligence and direction behind the seeming randomness becomes apparent as the track progresses. "Vrtilljak" is a tour de force percussion piece in which Kaucic manages to keep a pattern going while playing intensely around it.
Each of the rest of the tracks has a different way of holding together in that there is some melodic fragment, technique or overall sound. On "Polder Wind's," Baars sounds like he is playing the clarinet without a reed, sounding at times much like a flute. "Strup," at sixteen minutes, the second longest track begins as a percussion solo, with tuned gongs attracting attention. Baars enters with some overblowing at first, but then a three-note scale fragment appears and is repeated, twisted and stretched enough that it becomes recognizable as a theme.
The last three tracks ("Mimogrede," "Sputa" and "Almost Danceable") share the sound of what might be called "melodic refraction." This means that what Baars plays sounds like it could be a melody, but the phrases of which are so displaced rhythmically and tonally as to hint at the ur text but never gives it away. Think "Mary Had A Little Lamb" with the familiar notes displaced in varying octaves with their time values altered. One might intuit that what is heard has something familiar about it, but never quite get what that something is. This "refraction" is quite attractive and compelling and brings the music closer to the listener.

(review courtesy of Budd Kopman and AllAboutJazz)

The organic exchanges orchestrated between percussionist Zlatko Kaučič and saxophonist Ab Baars are wickedly eccentric on their new release Canvas. Their irregular rhythms produce peaks and valleys along the progressions, evoking a stream of consciousness technique powered by surges of impulsive sparks. Melodic themes are interpreted with a free-style penmanship as the musicians plot their notes randomly when examined from a logical mind. The music requires a free thinking audience who can admire the freedom welded by two creative imaginations.

Like a Jackson Pollock painting, notes are splattered and drizzled, ascend and descend, squeal and puff in a whimsical manner from the observer's point of view. "Paint Up Your Vision" is a cavalcade of abrasive saxophone squarks and screeches fringed by percussive instruments that thread explosive interruptions. The sandpaper-like scratches of Zlatko's percussion project a cobra-like shudder in "Strup," which switches to streaks of percolating drum strikes coursing through "Vrtilljak" beaded with splashing cymbals.

The sparseness of "Polder Wind's" is adorned in wispy aerials designed by a windpipe-style tool, making for a delightful listening experience as the breath moves through a cyclinder-like structure and comes out the other end touching the air. It's like leaving one's fingerprint in the breeze and converting the moment into an audible form. "Mimogrede" frames Baars' wavy saxophone puffs in drizzles of percussive sounds and then withdraws to soft clamors as the squeals of Baars' sax grew brooding through "Sputa" plotting a piercing zigzag along the evolving stages of the composition. The final number, "Almost Danceble" is a lively banter between the saxophone and percussion as the two carry on in a casual manner, each moving along independently of the other.

Uniquely orchestrated, Canvas shows that music comes in many forms. A composition doesn't require recurring motifs but rather can be freely expressed and made from strands of notes that sound differently each time they make an appearance. Music is a compilation of sounds in the duo's hands. They experiment with tones, exploring sharpness and contrast of tones and intertwining them in ways that never follow the same path, proving that Kaučič and Baars are model innovators.

(review courtesy of Susan Frances and

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