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Gerd Dudek: ‘Smatter

Gerd Dudek is the best tenor saxophonist you’ve never heard of. And incredibly, that’s a statement that could have been made 10 or 20 years ago. A central reason is that, despite getting in on the ground floor of European free music as a member of trumpeter Manfred Schoof’s pivotal mid-’60s quintet and the mighty Globe Unity Orchestra (GUO), and subsequently being a mainstay of prominent units such as European Jazz Ensemble (EJE) and Berlin Contemporary Jazz Orchestra, Dudek has never led his own date, a grievous omission only now corrected by ‘smatter.

Evan Parker, Dudek’s GUO section mate and Psi honcho, produced this ’98 London studio date with the blue-chip British rhythm section of guitarist John Parricelli, bassist Chris Laurence and EJE drummer Tony Levin, spanning “Body and Soul” and three elegantly contoured Kenny Wheeler compositions. Separate and apart from the justice served by its release, the results are immensely satisfying.

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