Martin Speicher/Georg Wolf/Lou Grassi – Shapes and Shadows (CF 084)
Lou Grassi is one of the few drummers that straddles the line between time and timelessness with ease. The three discs under discussion here demonstrate the fluidity with which he imbues all areas of his art.
No holds are barred on Shapes and Shadows, a mind-bending foray into total improvisation where Grassi really demonstrates the breadth of his timbral and rhythmic language. Buoyed by the revelatory reedwork of Martin Speicher and Georg Wolf broadly inventive bass playing, he enters majestically beautiful realms of noise, force and near-silence. Expanding on the innovations of Sunny Murray and Rashied Ali, he incorporates everything from finger cymbals to chimes, even employing what sounds like a piano wire. The title track opening is one of the disc’s crowning glories, an extraordinary study in character and space as Speicher clarinet ushers in the epic journey. If obliterating volume is the order of the day, look no further than Please Confirm, for all the new thing squall that could be desired.