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Rudiger Carl: Book/Virtual Cowws

Bassist Peter Kowald and Rudiger Carl, who plays clarinet, tenor saxophone, and accordion, are first-wave European free improvisers whose work has been largely overlooked by even sympathetic factions of the U.S. music press. Yet, no survey of the European free improvisation movement would be complete without discussing their work. A co-founder of Globe Unity Orchestra, Kowald was one of the first European improvisers to gain a U.S. audience, co-instigating the ’80s Sound Unity festival in New York with William Parker. Carl made a signal move away from free jazz-related improvisation with his late ’70s incorporation of the accordion; intriguingly, many of his core collaborators since the early ’70s have been women-most notably pianist Irene Schweizer, bassist Joelle Leandre, and vocalist Shelley Hirsch. Cuts and the 3-disc Book/Virtual Cowws reveal Kowald and Carl to be unique voices on the European scene.

Cuts documents Kowald’s year-long nurturing of the 22-piece Ort Ensemble Wuppertal, a community-based pool of mostly young musicians.

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