Tag Archives: Tobias Delius

Tomasjazz review by Jesús Gonzalo

CF 265Christian Lilinger´s Gründ: Second Reason (CF 265)
Christian Lillinger’s GRUND – Second Reason_SoundsGreenDebo entender que la aparición de este disco en mi buzón ha sido un regalo navideño que llega un año tarde. Grata sorpresa que crece en valor por su contenido y la poca o nula repercusión que ha tenido. Como indica el título -grund es razón en alemán- esta segunda parte conlleva una primera. Aquélla también fue publicada por la compañía portuguesa en 2009. En la actualidad Lillinger, nacido y residente en Berlín, de quien se dice que es un tipo hiperactivo, como si esto condicionara su obra, tiene 29 años… Calculen, acababa de salir del conservatorio (Escuela de Música Carl Maria von Weber de Dresde) cuando entrega como titular un disco haciéndose acompañar por Joachim Kühn. Pero ese primer trabajo no sirve para calibrar esta continuación. Allí había pulso rítmico, no diré swing, pero si consonancia, melodías trenzadas, figuras visibles y una ordenación del material bajo cánones modernos pero reconocidamente jazzísticos.

El cambio que sucede aquí tiene que ver con la organización instrumental pero mucho más con el concepto. De sexteto se pasa a septeto, ahora hay dos bajos y un vibráfono, una fórmula acompañada de piano y de una batería con extensión percusiva que trasforma la sección rítmica en un arsenal descriptivo. Adelante siguen los dos saxos. Eso en cuanto al significante. El significado, ya lo adelantamos, es “contemporáneo”, y sólo bajo parámetros de apreciación de esta música se puede entender. Asociarlo al free jazz conlleva un error de simplificación, puesto que aquí hay mucho material elaborado para obtener este empaste y color, y el free es ante todo energía en expansión y colisión.

A modo de aproximación, no se trata tanto de una expresión contemporánea jazzística, digamos, deudora de los holandeses de la ICP o de un Henry Threadgill, que también pudiera tener algo que ver en cuanto al puntillismo del tratamiento y nada en cuanto a lo melódico-rítmico, o, mirando más atrás como referente histórico, el Eric Dolphy de Out to lunch. El mensaje, pues, está muy evolucionado y podría verse reflejado más en la obra de autores contemporáneos como Sciarrino o más actuales como Bedrossian. Se persigue así la disolución de la forma y también de las señales de escritura, despojando al discurso de un centro temático e incluso de un núcleo instrumental que empuje, quedando todo en manos de ese efecto de precipitación o de “accidente” colectivo de sonidos, sin caer en el juego de texturas ni en el apoyo espacial o de silencios.

Lo que Lillinger construye es un mosaico hecho de acentos y de pequeñas figuras salpicadas convenientemente como en un cuadro de Pollock. Es el poder de una plasticidad orgánica, que evocan unas notas que se diseminan y rozan creando un efecto de temblor e inestabilidad constante pero al mismo tiempo de acción, lo que maravilla de este trabajo donde fluyen las ideas. Cómo los metales se mimetizan en sonidos desfigurados y desvaídos, hechos de líneas distorsionadas, de acentos encendidos (imitando al sakuhachi) en registros de tonalidad extrema, en los bordes o dentro de multifónicos. Y la percusión, más que batería, con la vibrante ornamentación de campanas, frotadores y agitadores. El piano de Kaufmann es un tratado en planos que une a Monk con Mengelberg. Los bajos y el vibráfono crean trabazón y elementos aéreos.

Excelente trabajo de un grupo a tener muy en cuenta en Europa. Lillinger combina un enfoque eminentemente abstracto bajo un planteamiento dinámico (no rítmico), dando la impresión de estar abierto cuando, en realidad, se dirige sin aparente consecución lógica a un final. Nueva música, nuevos oídos.
http://www.tomajazz.com/web/?p=9998

Jazzthing review

CF 265Christian Lillinger’s Grund – Second Reason (CF 265)
Der Berliner Christian Lillinger gehört zurzeit der Generation junger Jazzschlagzeuger an, die gehörig für Aufsehen und Wirbel auf dem Jazz-Circuit sorgen – nicht nur hier in Deutschland, sondern mittlerweile auch in ganz Europa. Gerade ist das zweite Album seiner Working-Band Grund erschienen: „Second Reason“. Aufgenommen mit zwei Kontrabässen (Robert Landfermann und Jonas Westergaard), zwei Saxofonen (Pierre Borel und Tobias Delius), Piano (Achim Kaufmann), Vibrafon (Christopher Dell) und ihm selbst am Schlagzeug klingt Lillingers Modern Jazz aufregend und spektakulär – obwohl oder gerade weil er auf expressive Momente verzichtet. Dem 28-jährigen Drummer geht es um anderes: um einen kompakten Klang, aus dem nur für kurze Zeit jeweils einzelne Stimmen solistisch hervorstechen, und um ein fixes Ensemblespiel, das gleichsam wie ein Instrument klingt – um als Band das musikalische Material zu bearbeiten und in die eigene Sprache zu transformieren. Und überhaupt, Lillinger ist einfach ein erstklassiger Schlagzeuger: In seinem Spiel wirkt nichts aufgesetzt oder einstudiert, es ist auf eine kraftvolle Weise filigran, bleibt dabei stets authentisch und eindeutig als Christian Lillinger identifizierbar.
http://www.jazzthing.de/review/christian-lillinger-s-grund-second-reason

Feuilletonscout review by Dieser Beitrag

CF 265Christian Lillinger’s Grund – Second Reason (CF 265)
Als die Debüt-CD „First Reason“ von Christian Lillingers Grund im Jahr 2009 herauskam, hatte der heute 28-jährige Schlagzeuger schon einige Highlights in seinem Berufsmusikerleben hinter sich: Studium an der Hochschule für Musik Carl Maria von Weber  Dresden bei Günter Sommer, dazwischen Umzug nach Berlin-Neukölln und Gründung der Band Hyperactive Kid mit Philipp Gropper (Saxophon) und Ronny Graupe (Gitarre). Er gab Unterricht und spielte mit vielen bekannten  Musikern in der Jazzszene.   2008 schließlich gründete er Christian Lillingers Grund: Zwei Bassisten (Robert Landfermann, Jonas Westergaard), zwei Saxophonisten (Tobias Delius, Pierre Borel), ein Klavier (Achim Kaufmann) und Lillinger am Schlagzeug.   Nun ist die zweite CD „Second Reason“ herausgekommen, bei der sich die Gruppe Verstärkung durch Christoph Dell am Vibrafon geholt hat.   Zeit online: „Entstanden ist eine traumverlorene, sich langsam und fast zärtlich entfaltende Musik, ein Klanggewölbe, aus dem sich einzelne Instrumente herausschälen und eine neue Struktur vorgeben, bevor sie wieder im rhythmischen Geflecht verschwinden[…] Was man da hört, ist schon Jazz. Aber dieser Jazz hat nichts Traditionelles. Er klingt frei, ohne hart wie der Free Jazz zu sein.“
http://blog.feuilletonscout.com/2013/01/07/freejazz-mit-christian-lillinger-grund-%E2%80%9Esecond-reason%E2%80%9C/

Soundsgreen review by Marek Lubner

CF 265Christian Lillinger’s GRUND – Second Reason (CF 265)
Second Reason gives many reasons to write about it. One of them and also for me the most important is the drummer and composer – Christian Lillinger.

Some time ago, referring to his presentation, I’ve pointed out that he uses avant-garde drumming developments in the tradition of Han Bennink, Paul Lovens, Tony Oxley, Raymond Strid, Dylan Van Der Schyff, Günter “Baby” Sommer, Gino Robair and many others. With his intellectual speculation, unique body mechanics, articulation, sensitivity to the tone used by the instruments, his drums/percussion/megaphone appears rather not like conventional drum kit but like an platform, which includes not only the rhythm, tempo and dynamics, but also considers intonation of the whole band. Musician in a coherent and highly creative way adapts unprecedented stylistic diversity . In his playing and compositions artists such as Mos Def and MF Doom & MF Grimm, sometimes breakbeat or metrically broken hardcore, jazz harmonies and syncopations, interfere with twentieth-century contemporary music. The effect of this is remarkable, like when hard bop sounding themes (Perspektiven, Für Pfranz) as in the Charles Mingus’ compositions, just a few bars later due to reharmonization and metric changes began to sound as if Pierre Schaeffer or contemporarily Christian Marclay might have started working on them in a real time.

Combining expression and freedom over the form , presented here by all of the musicians, seems to be the most symptomatic for Lillinger. This balance actually constitutes his art, such as in Schnecke, when about third minute of the piece’s duration he starts playing, constantly offering conceptual variation figures, while being symbiotically fused with a course. Compositions (improvisations) signed by all of the sextet’s members, appear accurately and complementary to the whole album as played ad libitum Grund VI, in which band can maintain consistency and build ad hoc musical projection.

Undoubtedly leader’s vision could not be so successfully realized, if not the phenomenal artists co-working with him on this recording. Achim Kaufmann not only comfortably feels in jazz improvisation but in contemporary music as well, in Schnecke lyrically builds an introduction as György Ligeti in piano etudes or Giacinto Scelsi in his sonatas. Saxophonist Tobias Delius can make the tenor began to sound like a clarinet. Both with an alto player Pierre Borel are experienced in the field of contemporary music, presenting broad range of extended techniques, growls, roars, hisses, whispers, creaking, squeaking. In those treatments there is some anarchic force of the musique concrète. This stream of responses, contrasts, unflagging activity is given in an ideal proportions Bassists Jonas Westergaard and Robert Landfermann, in addition to working in the expanded rhythm section, also building rhythmic and harmonic emancipation of this music, bringing glissandos, volcanic arco sound. Vibraphonist Christopher Dell with his instrument’s tinge delivers melody and brightens the Grund’s mood.

Listening to the Grund’s second album, ensures me that I should rather say that the contemporary improvised music might begin to use the achievements in the Lillinger’s tradition. The music of tomorrow for today it is.
http://soundsgreen.blogspot.de/2013/05/christian-lillingers-grund-second-reason.html

Gapplegate Music review by Grego Edwards

CF 265Christian Lillinger’s Grund – Second Reason (CF 265)
If brilliantly composed, excellently performed mid-sized ensemble avant jazz is to your liking, Christian Lillinger’s Grund and their Second Reason (Clean Feed 265) offer you a good deal of it.  The Grund is a seven-piece outfit of Achim Kaufmann on piano, Christopher Dell on vibes, Pierre Borel on alto, Tobias Delius on tenor, the double basses of Jonas Westergaard and Robert Landferman, and Christian at the drums.   It is a band that has a controlled but energetic outness in the improvisations and a new-music styled ensemble sound. Lillinger’s compositional hand gives the music a sophisticated yet outside edge, from the highly figurative post-bop avant heads to ensemble lines sounded in tandem with the solo sequences.   The ensemble is well-rehearsed, exacting, cohesive and powerful. Christian’s drums flow freely, the horns, keys and vibes have solo strength and the music is a superb outcome of the considerable thought and effort that went into it.  Bravo!
http://gapplegatemusicreview.blogspot.pt/2013/04/christian-lillingers-grund-second-reason.html

Free Jazz review by Martin Schray

CF 265Christian Lillinger’s Grund: Second Reason (CF 265)
*** ½
In my real life I am a high school teacher. I like my job and I like teaching kids. However, especially some of the boys cannot sit still, they rock with their chairs, they drum on their desks with their fingers, they fumble through their hair. I guess Christian Lillinger was just like them, he even called his first group Hyperactive Kid. With his rock’n’roll quiff Lillinger, who is only 28 years old, looks like a mixture of Minutemen’s George Hurley and Paul Lovens on speed, and he also plays like that when he is mauling his drums, jumping up and down behind his kit, using all kinds of materials like steel springs, megaphones, or plastic bottles. He is constantly in motion, his drumming is a highly explosive mixture of sound explorations and power play.

Grund is the German word for “reason” but also for “ground”, “cause” or “base”. In an interview with a German newspaper Lillinger said that for him Grund means the ground where he came from, the two basses (Robert Landfermann and Jonas Westergaard) were his platform. They build the base on which Christopher Dell (vibes), Achim Kaufmann (piano), Tobias Delius and Pierre Borel (saxes) can soar. Grund (the band) is like a meta-instrument, an organism from which each instrument can crystallize slowly and individually before it is absorbed in a tight rhythmic network again. Lillinger calls this “interconnection”.

You can see what he means in a shorter piece like “acht!” which starts with a piano/bass/vibes unison part before Lillinger joins in. Far in the distance you can hear a saxophone squealing before the track tilts and drums and sax entwine in an interesting dialogue until the sax vanishes in the group context again. “Schnecke” (which is the German word for “snail” or “slug”) is a similar track, rumbling and rocking, you can find weird circus elements, breakbeats and strange saxophone shrieks. Kaufmann and Lillinger drive the band in front of them. Very often this music transgresses the borders of “jazz”. It is close to new music, the band creates sonic arches which seem to come from a soundtrack for an expressionist film of the 1930s (as in “Grund VII”). On the other hand there are free jazz elements, although not in a traditional way because a lot of the music is composed.

Lillinger says he has ideas he wants to file out. He likes rehearsing, he likes working with his band on these ideas, he wants to be completely free. This is what improvisation means to him in the end – it has to flow.
http://freejazz-stef.blogspot.pt/

All About Jazz-New York review by Andrey Henkin

G9 Gipfel – Berlin (Jazzwerkstatt)

Drummer Han Bennink, part of the first wave of truly European jazz musicians, felt that he was continuing, albeit indirectly, a rhythmic tradition coming out of the drum corps of countries like Switzerland and Scotland. Other generations have followed, filled with players who used the accomplishments of Bennink, as well as others like Paul Lovens, Pierre Favre, Aldo Romano or Jacques Thollot (to give one example per country), as a template. German drummer Christian Lillinger, 27, who studied with another accomplished European in Günter Baby Sommer, is part of the latest wave, lending his talents to a wide array of projects. Though he is one of nine participants on Berlin, from G9 Gipfel (meaning “peak”), Lillinger’s drumming is crucial in corralling the various personalities involved. Trombonist Gerhard Gschlössl is the nominal leader of this ensemble but players like trumpeter Axel Dörner, saxist Tobias Delius and bass clarinetist Rudi Mahall are quite capable of yanking the leash of their master. Filling out the nonet are alto saxist Wanja Slavin, guitarist John Schröder, bassist Johannes Fink and, in a very rare turn as a sideman, pianist Alexander von Schlippenbach, éminence grisé in European jazz since the ‘60s. Only four contribute compositions but these lurch drunkenly from Gschlössl’s proto-bop swingers reminiscent of mid ‘60s Blue Note and Mahall’s rumpled avant excursion to Dörner’s hypercerebral musing and Fink’s kinetic, almost centerless sketches. So Lillinger has to be all kinds of drummers, as in as he is out, changing radically while maintaining his own aesthetic, all of which he does with a range impressive in one so relatively new to the scene.

First Reason is Lillinger’s debut under his own name, though he has previously released albums with the cooperative group Hyperactive Kid and several
other improvised, leaderless sessions. Delius and Slavin are part of the group, buoyed by the double double basses of Jonas Westergaard and Robert
Landfermann. The elder statesman here is pianist Joachim Kühn, one of the few jazz musicians actively working in what was East Germany in the early ‘60s.
Lillinger features as both writer and player on this album, penning 8 of the 11 tunes but, since this is a debut, it has the typical stylistic waywardness that can
make for an uneven listen. All of the tunes are good, especially the Vandermark-ian workout “Patient” but it is often hard to see how they connect, particularly
the ones featuring Kühn, which sound of another era, perhaps the pianist’s time with BYG-Actuel. The most interesting thing about the album is how, despite
having two horns in the frontline, First Reason is really dominated by the two varying approaches of Westergaard and Landfermann in tandem, Lillinger
skittering around them like a child mischievously running between the legs of his parent.

Lillinger’s latest project is a trio session of eight presumably improvised tunes with pianist Achim Kaufmann and bassist Landfermann. One can’t help
but think of archetypes of the free European piano trio:Howard Riley, Wolfgang Dauner, Siegfried Kessler, Joachim Kühn. Snatches of all those come through on
Grünen, a mélange of proto-classical, subversive swing and folksy impudence. Kaufmann is of an earlier generation of European improvisers, about two
decades older than the rhythm section. But do not presume unspoken leadership of this session. As he’s proven in the aforementioned album, his solo disc Null
and quartet outing Nicht Ohne Robert Volume 1 (also with Lillinger), Landfermann is a player firmly following Europe’s also-mighty bassist tradition. And here Lillinger can punctuate, cajole, react, ignore and bring to the fore all of his breadth as a player in an ensemble one-third the size of Berlin and without worrying about bandleading as on First Reason. As he gets older, Lillinger will be able to dominate a session like a Bennink without seemingly trying to but it’s heartening to see that European avant garde keeps attracting new adherents.

Cadence Magazine review by Robert Iannapollo

Christian Lillinger Grund – First Reason (CF 142)
Clean Feed has done a lot of providing recording opportunities for people and groups whose names were hitherto unknown in the area of contemporary Jazz. One example is this release by German drummer Christian Lillinger (3). Lillinger is a new name to me but he leads a unique ensemble with two reeds and two bassists on First Reason, his debut album as a leader. The ensemble is stacked with some first rate players. ICP Orchestra’s Tobias Delius is one of the reed players, Danish bass player Jonas Westergaard is one of the bassists, and a guest on three tracks is veteran pianist Joachim Kuhn who has been a mainstay on the German (and international) Jazz scene since the 1960s. It’s good to hear him mixing it up with these young upstarts. It’s clear that Lillinger is going for something a little different by using this unusual instrumental lineup. There’s some great writing here such as on “Die Enge” where Delius and Slavin are playing an odd static theme as the two bassists ping off each other. The two basses are an integral part of the grounding of this music. At times they play in tandem or contrapuntally but frequently their parts seem to ricochet off each other. The dual bass solo at the beginning of Delius’ “The Heron” (nice to hear an alternate version to the one that was on Delius’ ICP debut disc) is one of the high points of the disc. Delius’ burly tenor is a good contrast to Slavin’s more liquid sounding alto. Lillinger drives this ensemble with a clattering energy (love his drumming on the opener “Pfranz”), that gives this music a distinct character. First Reason is an auspicious debut.
©Cadence Magazine 2010 www.cadencebuilding.com

Temporary Fault review by Massimo Ricci

CHRISTIAN LILLINGERS GRUND – First Reason (CF 142)
Apparently, master pianist Joachim Kühn fell in love with drummer and composer Christian Lillinger’s work at a first listen, having had the chance of appreciating his playing at a festival in Ibiza in 2008. He is also the producer of this record, besides lending hands as a performer in three of its eleven pieces. Basically, Grund (=ground in German) is a quintet made of two reedists (Tobias Delius and Wanja Slavin) and two bassists (Jonas Westergaard and Robert Landfermann) in conjunction with the leader. The adjective that immediately springs to mind when listening to this recording is “cerebral”, not necessarily (and not always) in a negative sense. The well-oiled correlations between the parts and the right amount of emancipation thrown in every once in a while contribute to depict a music that sounds sharp but not acrimonious, elements of tradition and scientific analysis of the instrumental relations weighing exactly the same. If the intelligibility of the arrangements is absolute and the procedural democracy shown in all the tunes substantial – contrapuntal friction and thorny melodic linearity both critical ingredients of the recipe – nevertheless there’s a noticeable level of frigidity getting in the way of a thorough enjoyment of the CD, which in essence appears as a fine-sounding rational exercise with a couple of noteworthy moments (such as the superb “Feldarbeit”). Definitely one for the intellect, not for the heart.
http://temporaryfault.blogspot.com/2010/03/pretty-obscure-releases-deserving.html

Peter Margasak “Best of 2009” list at the Chicago Reader

Best of 2009, Part Three (20th to 11th)

20. Mulatu Astatke & the Heliocentrics, Inspiration Information 3 (Strut)
Veteran Ethiopian composer, keyboardist, vibist, and arranger Mulatu Astatke—whose tunes you’ve heard if you’ve seen Jim Jarmusch’s Broken Flowers—hooks up with avant-garde UK hip-hop/funk crew the Heliocentrics and creates an unexpectedly simpatico hybrid. I’m usually suspicious of calculated cross-generational or cross-stylistic experiments—Inspiration Information 3 is part of a Strut series that’s also paired Tony Allen with Jimi Tenor and Horace Andy with Ashley Beedle—but this one works perfectly. Haunting pentatonic melodies tussle with the kind of grooves Sun Ra might have written if he’d been born six decades later.

19. Vic Chesnutt, At the Cut (Constellation)
Adding another layer to the tragedy of Vic Chesnutt’s suicide is the fact that he’d just released what might be the most powerful album of his career. A combo including Fugazi’s Guy Picciotto and folks from Montreal’s Godspeed/Silver Mt. Zion crowd wrap up his singing in arrangements both tender and harrowing—the opener, “Coward,” is easily the most unsettling rock song I heard all year. “Flirted With You All My Life,” a breakup note to death, stings much worse if you know about Chesnutt’s previous suicide attempts (to say nothing of the one that succeeded), but even if you’re completely ignorant of the details of his troubled life this record can clobber you emotionally.

18. J.D. Allen Trio, Shine! (Sunnyside)
J.D. Allen has been leading a growing reinvestment in the saxophone trio on the New York jazz scene. John Coltrane and Sonny Rollins remain clear points of reference, but this group—with the sturdy rhythm section of bassist Gregg August and drummer Rudy Royston—has a no-nonsense concision and lean architecture all its own. Shine! puts the spotlight on some of the most fundamental aspects of jazz—subtle group interaction, focused improvisation, and infectious rhythmic buoyancy.

17. Liam Noble Trio, Brubeck (Basho)
Thanks to the metrical experiments of his ubiquitous landmark album Time Out, pianist Dave Brubeck has long been dismissed by some jazz fans as a square, clunky player, but terrific British pianist Liam Noble flies in the face of that prejudice with this superb homage. Noble is wonderfully flexible, equally at home in free-jazz settings and mainstream contexts, and his scrappy trio manages to be both sincere and revisionist in its precise, energetic interpretations. Nothing here is too outre, and I doubt the music will provoke much reconsideration of Brubeck’s work—but it certainly would be nice if it did.

16. Tinariwen, Imidiwan: Companions (World Village)
The original Tuareg rockers pull back on the power, reverting to the stabbing intensity of their earliest work, which conveys emotion through nuances in its lilting vocals and floating matrix of guitars. Tinariwen’s style of musical hypnosis hasn’t varied much over the years—even the change on Imidiwan is of degree, not of kind—but when a band consistently casts spells like these, who cares?

15. David Sylvian, Manafon (Samadhisound)
For his latest album, veteran art-pop singer David Sylvian surrounded himself with a heavyweight crew of free improvisers and experimentalists—Christian Fennesz, Evan Parker, Otomo Yoshihide, Keith Rowe, Franz Hautzinger, Sachiko M, and John Tilbury among them. Within meticulously calibrated improvised settings he sings his elliptical lyrics with rhapsodic splendor, shaping grandiloquent melodies that contrast radically with the stark, spiky, sometimes even menacing music.

14. Mario Diaz de Leon, Enter Houses Of (Tzadik)
This stunning album by young New York composer Mario Diaz de Leon features members of the International Contemporary Ensemble—a superb new-music collective based here and in New York—who bring crisp, bracing technical rigor to de Leon’s mind-melting pieces, which draw liberally from noise, free improv, and the work of modern composers like Xenakis and Ligeti. He’s fluent enough in the languages of his various influences that his work never sounds like an arbitrary pastiche. In fact in “Mansion” the transitions between pure acoustic sound—the flutes of Claire Chase and Eric Lamb—and lacerating electronic feedback are as organic as they are abrupt. Enter Houses Of portends great possibilities for new “classical” music.

13. A Hawk and a Hacksaw, Délivrance (Leaf)
When American musicians catch a fever for some faraway regional tradition, it usually ends up as a fleeting obsession, but Jeremy Barnes and Heather Trost (aka A Hawk and a Hacksaw) have proved themselves an exception to the rule. They’ve not only stuck with their love for Roma fiddle music, they even relocated to Budapest, Hungary, for a year and a half, where they studied with bona fide practitioners and eventually formed a band with some of them. Lots of great players help out on Délivrance, where Barnes and Trost maintain a distinctly American artsy feel amid the wildly sawing fiddles, sprightly cimbalom (played by the great Kalman Balogh), and pumping accordion. And as they proved at the Empty Bottle in September, they can also pull off a great show without the European ringers.

12. Buika & Chucho, El Ultimo Trago (Warner Music Latino)
Remarkable Spanish producer Javier Limón strikes again, pairing Buika—a powerhouse black flamenco singer from Mallorca—with brilliant Cuban pianist Chucho Valdés for a program of songs made famous by Mexican ranchera icon Chavela Vargas. It might seem like some kind of postmodern bricolage, but everything here sounds utterly natural. Valdés has such an authoritative rhythmic drive that he can’t help but give the whole endeavor an Afro-Cuban feel, but Buika has the kind of smoky, malleable voice that can traverse any style—the music they make together feels almost nonidiomatic.

11. Christian Lillinger’s Grund, First Reason (Clean Feed)
Ubiquitous, flexible German drummer Christian Lillinger has made his first album as a leader, and it’s a knockout—not least because his impressive band includes saxophonist Tobias Delius, bassist Jonas Westergaard, and pianist Joachim Kuhn. Lillinger’s tunes are both distinctive and open enough to allow for potent improvisation and lots of interactions between members, particularly the jabbing exchanges between Delius and horn man Wanja Slavin, and second bassist Robert Landfermann gives the bottom end extra movement and muscle.
http://www.chicagoreader.com/TheBlog/archives/2010/01/21/best-of-2009-part-three