Intricacy abounds as the quartet on (Babardah) unravels complex musical mysteries. Michalowski opens with a robust baritone saxophone foundation, encouraging Khoury to build on the concept with stirring violin cries of sadness. Weaver's trombone weeps in sympathy as llgenfritz uses arco motion to stir this cauldron of 'improvised sound. Khoury’s string symphony conjures images of remorsefulness in the Gypsy tradition and if counteraction with Michalowski’s and Weave's horns becomes the defining quality oft this intense recording. Ilgenfritz surrounds these exchanges in a tightly knotted bass wrap as he alternates between introspective pizzicato and mournful bass drama. The music adopts a European aesthetic that coexists evenly with American concepts of spontaneously devised creativity.
The nine selections are the joint conception of the team, which listens to and answers the probing comments injected by each member. Weaver and Michalowski enter into bantering exchanges, causing Khoury and llgenfritz to cloak this inter-play in a blanket of swirling strings. Michalowski frequently forces mood swings by moving from the dense tones of the baritone and bass clarinet to the more sublime effect of the sopranino and soprano. Still, the music maintains its profound, gripping elements, llgenfritz's bass solo on “Tauton” further emphasizes the somber scenario these four free spirits sculpt. His anguished resonance spurs Weaver into overt action while Khoury injects agitated string speech and Michalowski uses slurred mouthpiece breathing as a tranquilizing alternative. These four musicians have garnered the seeds of creativity from multiple cultural sources, but their amassed product celebrates all that is beautiful in the respective origins.
Frank Rubolino, Cadence 31 (March 2005) 119-20.