Rainer Brüninghaus piano, synthesizer
Kenny Wheeler fluegelhorn
Jon Christensen drums
Brynjar Hoff oboe, English horn
Recorded August 1980 at Talent Studio, Oslo
Engineer: Jan Erik Kongshaug
Produced by Manfred Eicher
After bringing his Midas touch to the projects of Eberhard Weber, it was only a matter of time before Rainer Brüninghaus would be given an opportunity to lead, and did so at last to soaring effect on Freigeweht (Set Free by the Wind) with a group of sympathetic musicians and a compositional aptitude to match. Over the space of six fairly extended pieces, we find the keyboardist in many facets. Whether it’s sharing rhythmic savvy with Kenny Wheeler in “Stufen” (Steps) or swapping runes with Brynjar Hoff on English horn in “Die Flüsse hinauf” (Upstream), his hands abide in every blissful moment. Brüninghaus also makes orchestral use of synthesizers, especially in the airborne “Spielraum” (Elbow Room) and “Radspuren” (Wheel Marks). Wheeler’s chromatic soloing throughout only underscores the feeling of flight, even as a rolling pianism cascades as if down the throat of a thirsty deity. Hoff’s oboe shares the ghostly body of “Täuschung der Luft” (Air Illusion) with a mounting drone, reborn in the sequenced arpeggios of the title track, on which we end. The oboe’s magic abounds, married to its surroundings by Wheeler’s irresistible binding force. As widely cast as Brüninghaus’s net is, the interactions with Jon Christensen delineate his art in clearest relief. These alone are the album’s DNA.
Admirers of Tim Story will find much to please the ears here, as well as be delighted by the gilded edges of improvisatory bliss that only ECM can bring. This is intensely imagistic music that is tangible enough to hold and lose ourselves in slumber.