Gratkowski / Nabatov “Tender Mercies”

Frank Gratkowski – alto saxophone, flute, alto flute clarinet, bass clarinet
Simon Nabatov – piano

1. Turn Of Events 11:35
2. Tender Mercies 06:45
3. Safe Home 10:12
4. Cagey 04:33
5. Layers of Disguise 07:18
6. Surfaces 02:44
7. Disgruntled Settlement 06:46

All music by Frank Gratkowski (GEMA) and Simon Nabatov (GEMA)

Recorded live January 11 2022 in LOFT Cologne by Christian Heck
Mixed and mastered by Stefan Deistler
Produced by Frank Gratkowski and Simon Nabatov
Executive production by Pedro Costa for Trem Azul
Clean Feed Records CF618CD
Design by Travassos

German reed-player Frank Gratkowski and Russian-born pianist Simon Nabatov have been making music together in a wide variety of constellations and contexts for over 30 years. The fruitful collaboration began in Klaus König’s large ensemble projects, found the two interpreting Nabatov’s musical readings of Russian literature, or as members of numerous ad hoc settings. Playing in duo, however, always allowed them to get to the core of what is essential in improvised music – open dialogue, the joy of surprising oneself and each other, cohesive story-telling next to abstract entanglements. The duo documented their elegant yet powerful approach on two CD releases thus far.
Tender Mercies is their third and most mature and expressive musical outing to date.
There is a little „tradition“ of sorts – Simon Nabatov often celebrates his birthday by playing a concert with a friend or two in Cologne’s venerable venue LOFT. The following party with Russian food and drink is a part of it. But it wasn’t the anticipation of the festivities that propelled Frank and Simon to the musical heights captured here, it was rather the joy of playing together again, after a longer pause, caused by the nasty Covid times…
The scope of the subjects, technics and emotions is truly impressive – from exquisite flute playing of the title piece to the glorious re-instatement of true Jazz spirit on „Safe Home“, from delicate impressionistic smudges of „Surfaces“ to brutal outbursts of „Disgruntled Settlement“ – and everything in-between – the listener is treated to an absorbing and exciting experience.