AMN Reviews: Paredes/Hatwich Duo – S/T [Neuma Records]

Robert Paredes (1948-2005) was a well-rounded experimentalist who composed electroacoustic works and text scores, and as a multi-reed instrumentalist performed with the Harry Partch Ensemble and played freely improvised music as well as jazz and Middle European, Balkan, and Greek folk music. In May and August of 2000, he played a series of improvised duets with double bassist Anton Hatwich in Iowa City, where Paredes taught and Hatwich was a student. The seven performances on this well-recorded set feature Paredes on clarinet, bass clarinet, and alto saxophone. Originally self-released in a limited edition of 100 CD-Rs, the album is now available on Bandcamp. It’s music well worth retrieving from obscurity.

Although presumably freely improvised, the music is tightly organized and structurally sound, cohering into spontaneous passages of harmony, counterpoint, and complementary themes. On the evidence of his playing here, Paredes was a charismatic improviser, crafting forcefully convoluted lines from a mix of extended and conventional techniques. Hatwich’s bow work is nimble, darting in and around Paredes’ lines with a fluidity that ranges across the instrument’s full compass. When Hatwich plays in his extreme upper register, the duo sound like a pair of clarinets; when playing pizzicato, he supports Paredes with a percussive drive.

There are many recordings of improvised duets for reeds and double bass; this is among the finest of them.

Daniel Barbiero

AMN Reviews: Tim Stine Trio – Fresh Demons [Astral Spirits AS133]

Guitarist Tim Stine has been a creative presence on the Chicago music scene for well over a decade now. Originally from North Dakota, he’s released recordings with his quartet and trio, and has played as a sideman with many of the city’s most interesting musicians. Fresh Demons is the second album from his trio with double bassist Anton Hatwich and drummer Frank Rosaly; recorded in January 2018, it follows their self-titled debut of 2016.

Stine composed the album’s eight tracks and plays acoustic guitar on all of them. That makes for a slightly unusual sound for a guitar-double bass-drums trio, but it is a very effective one and perfectly suited to the asymmetrical, chromatic substance typical of Stine’s thematically structured compositions. Stine is a fine guitarist; during written and improvised passages he plays fluent, long lines that push against the naturally staccato sound of the acoustic guitar. Hatwich’s pizzicato double bass, another predominantly staccato voice, both doubles and counterpoints Stine’s melodies and provides active support to his improvisations. No less important to the well-integrated group sound is Rosaly’s drumming—it’s fluid and propulsive, and makes Stine’s rhythmically complex compositions swing.

Daniel Barbiero