Become a member and get exclusive access to articles, live sessions and more!
Start Your Free Trial

Tobias Delius 4Tet: Pelikanismus

On his third album Pelikanismus (ICP) the brawny tenor saxophonist Tobias Delius proceeds from the edge of his seat. Over the last few years he’s developed a telepathic rapport with his excellent quartet-bassist Joe Williamson and more of those damned ICPers, drummer Han Bennink and cellist Tristan Honsinger-which allows them to intuit musical choices like most people breathe air. The group employs its fondness for medleys only once here-where despite having a song order sketched out in advance, the players are free to spontaneously shuffle its various components-but even when the quartet sticks to a single tune there’s so much freewheeling interplay, independence and erasing of foreground and background that the performance contains the breadth of information you’d expect in a medley. Delius, Honsinger and Williamson frequently form a section, braiding disparate timbres to sound of a gorgeous piece. Although Delius acquits himself nicely on the clarinet here, he truly shines on his main instrument, recalling the breathy sensuality of Ben Webster, the agile gravity of Sonny Rollins and the pinched phrasing of Archie Shepp. Pelikanismus is a knockout display of the joys of freedom.

Originally Published