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Four European masters bring the true free improv. Abstract but not formless, the music breaks all kinds of boundaries -- here are "tunes" that are not necessarily "tuneful." A rare chance to hear Charig, Malfatti, Rutherford, and Van Hove explore their instruments' full capabilities, in good, respectful company.
All compositions by Mark Charig/Radu Malfatti/Paul Rutherford/Fred Van Hove.
released November 5, 1981
"Among the latest from Germany’s FMP label is the superlative album featuring a quartet called M. L. A. The document is called Blek (also the name of the provocative cover drawing by Nino Malfatti) and it’s made up of 7 “Bleks”. Though Van Hove has equal interest in improvisation and composition, here the former makes for the impetus of the album, in a way that is highly refined and totally engrossing. The emphasis is on group interaction featuring a rather static volume and intensity level. Members of the quartet drop out now and then creating a variety of textures. The execution runs from obscure lyrical content to “purer” sound orientations. There is an element of “ping-pong” free Jazz (a la England’s SME) but it does not dominate the proceedings. Often, Van Hove sets back-drops - mushed pulsing chords, dribbling low notes, inside-piano scrapings/pluckings, etc. but even when he is involved in this type of function, he is very much present, and in a limited/subtle manner, interacting fully with the other players. Rutherford has always been an impressive player, elastic and technically quite profound. And, on the evidence of this disk, Malfatti and Charig have really come a long way in the last couple years in terms of their developing their sound as well as their techniques."
- Milo Fine, Cadence
Mark Charig: trumpet
Radu Malfatti: trombone
Paul Rutherford: trombone
Fred Van Hove: piano
Recorded live by Roberto Carapellucci on May 12th, 1980, in Rome at the Studio M of C.P.R.F. RAI within Radiotre Broadcast 'Un Certo Discorso'.
Edited by Filippo Bianchi, Luigi Castaldo and Pasquale Santoli.
Supervision by Giorgio Sala.
CD mastering by Olaf Rupp.
Produced by Fred Van Hove and Jost Gebers.
Cover artwork by Nino Malfatti.
Layout by Wolf Walt.
Photograph by Rob Leurentop.