woo – Press



About Hoo-ha

Vital Weekly / Mark Daelmans-Sikkel

‘Ho-haa’ is a live recording of a concert, namely the first two pieces and a studio recording. Peter Orins (drums) has been playing in a duo with Paulina Owczarek (saxophone) for a few years. And Orins knows Christine Wodrascka from Sangliers, a French-American quintet with Dave Rempis, Keefe Jackson, and Didier Lasserre. And again the group name is a combination of the first letters of the members’ last name. First piece Why Not? lasts a whopping 35 minutes. And what a 35 minutes it is. Again depth in the bass drum, and the lower regions of the piano, since there’s no bass in this trio. It’s captivating music, minimal in another way than TOC, and yet again the same, sections with minimal melodic movement but with the same end result : intensely mesmerizing music without being boring to listen to. As a musician (or group) it might well be comfortable to hang on to a certain throughput that works, but then there’s the danger of not moving forward. Here that’s not the case. The piece floats by, shifts to other textures and gestures and time seemingly stands still. It’s almost a soundtrack to a (silent) movie. The other live track is minimalistic, or better yet pointillistic. Very soft noises on the sax, interspersed with piano intervals with a silent audience. Quite a feat ! It’s a walk in an English garden (Spacer W Angielskim Ogrodzie). Quite a few creatures can be heard in that garden. Hoo-ha is the title track and recorded in a studio. The sound is more direct and as a whole more dynamic than the live recordings. Still, a very nice closing track. The trio plays as a group with intent and attention. No pyrotechnics but constrained, and concentrated to make the whole better than the sum of its parts. And they did that very well. There’s wonderful stuff on this release.

Spontaneous Music Tribune / Andrzej Nowak

It’s time for the trio humorously named WOO, who are meeting each other perhaps for the first time and seem to be an extension of the previous collaboration between the drummer and the alto saxophonist. This duo, complemented by a pianist usually associated with more intimate improvisations, embarks on a highly emotional journey, which in many key moments boldly adopts the guise of free jazz. The performance consists of a multi-minute main part and two swift complements that do not seem to be mere afterthoughts.

The first improvisation lasts almost thirty-five minutes, displaying all the colors and shades available to the genre. The minimalist opening, crafted from small details, half-phrases, and rustles, gives the impression of a very rough chamber music piece but quickly takes a more expressive direction, sewn on post-jazz foundations. The intricate rhythm, dictated not only by the drummer, correlates well with the chosen path. The musicians control their emotions and, after a slight climax, move into a phase of subgroup play, subdued preparations, and focusing on sound nuances. They offer us, for instance, a duo of impulsive piano and balanced drumming, always with a jazz reference point in the back of their minds. Phases of screams and laments end in quick, free jazz accumulations, phases of calming emotions drown in a stream of resonating sounds. We have a short percussion solo, then its duo with the alto built from fragments of sound, finally a collective action based on the darkness of the piano’s black keys. Towards the end of the improvisation, in the thicket of small, unspoken issues, a mysterious, wind-like sound appears, which after a while turns out to be an exposure on the saxophone mouthpiece. Supported by deeply rooted drumming, it leads the trio to a final, free jazz peak.

The remaining two improvisations last about seven minutes each and carry emotions situated at opposite poles of expression. The first focuses on generating small phrases in close proximity to silence. Full of rustles and whispers, it forms into a cooled-down post-ballad. The second seems to be a successful attempt to recapitulate ideas for more free jazz actions. Percussive post-rhythm beaten on the edges, fuller saxophone breath, and piano with a touch of nostalgia. The narrative seeks strong emotions here but ultimately rests on rhythmic, minimalist discussions, not devoid of a farewell melody.

VinylMine / Phontas Troussas

The (French) Wodrascka is a recognized musician and one of the most important pianists of the last 30 years, having collaborated with dozens of her peers (including Fred Frith, Paul Lovens, Floros Floridis, among others). Thus, her presence in a trio with Owczarek and Orins cannot but signify a different endeavor, which, although it will move within the framework of improv-jazz, will simultaneously possess some more distinctive characteristics.

This becomes apparent almost immediately with the first track, the gigantic “Why not?” (34:45), which is itself a “school” in terms of the communication, first and foremost, of the three musicians, and from there, their sonic proposition – which consists of what? Essentially, an impressive piece with all kinds of playing, with the instruments sometimes “in the red,” clashing and intertwining in an explosive context, and other times undermining the concept of logical, or expected development, playing at the limits – and here we are not just talking about the piano and how it can be integrated into the narrative, with inside-outside handling, but basically about the alto saxophone. And yes, it is the completely unpredictable Owczarek, with her playing, which includes various “extremes” and, of course, multiphonics, producing “screams,” “squeals,” “caws,” etc., creating completely bizarre situations. These, combined with Orins’ subterranean manic drumming and Wodrascka’s monotonous, corrosive piano playing, collectively lend “Why not?” an originality.

But the two 7-minute pieces that complete the album are of a similar aesthetic or even more extreme, with Owczarek constantly leaving you stunned by the way she incorporates the unpredictable into the overall plan.

Difficult, demanding improv-jazz, but simultaneously with a constant sense of rhythm and sonic evolution.

STNT / Valery John Klebar

WOO est un trio piano sax batterie dont le nom de groupe correspond aux initiales des trois musiciens (Wodrascka / Owczarek / Orins). Orin et Owczarek je les ai vus en concert à Bitche à Nantes en 2022 lors d’une soirée apo33 où le jeu précis et minimaliste de Peter Orins se mariait à merveille au souffle souple de la polonaise Owczarek au sax. Ces deux là développent une musique de l’écoute pleine de liberté. Christine Wodrascka rencontre Peter Orins dans l’ensemble Sangliers (avec Dave Rempis, Keefe Jackson et Didier Lasserre) et joue de son piano avec l’énergie du ventre et la force vive de l’esprit. Elle y va et j’aime vraiment ça. Le bilan est simple comme une équation d’un analyste financier : calme et tension égal succès. L’équation étant elle-même dépendante d’une autre entité qui reste celle d’apprécier un free fin, minutieux et parfois dévergondé. Quand en plus c’est une vieille gloire poitevine du micro milieu rock/noise des années 90, Raphael GUITTON (théâtre records) qui enregistre, et bien oui, j’ai commencé à pas mal jouer ce disque. Le premier morceau est un vrai péplum d’une demie heure avec tous les éléments émotifs nécessaires à sa constitution : suspens, action, calme… Ces trois musiciens sont à l’affût les uns des autres, à courir dans les champs histoire de se toucher et se rencontrer. Et ça marche, tous les éléments rythmiques se marient à merveille à la frivolité et la puissance du piano, les moments plus calmes aussi se révèlent de bonne constitution, j’ai parfois du mal avec les choix du sax mais je prends toujours autant de plaisir à écouter la créativité de Peter Orins ainsi que celle de Christine Wodrascka (bonne découverte pour moi).. Le dernier morceau a été enregistré par Peter ORINS lui-même à Ronchin et c’est aussi Peter qui a mixé et masterisé ce disque. Très bonne sortie chez Circum Disc.

Bad Alchemy / Rigobert Dittmann

Drummer Peter Orins has teamed up with Paulina Owczarek from Kraków on alto saxophone, his duo partner in “You Never Know,” and Christine Wodrascka, his playing companion in Sangliers (with Dave Rempis, Keefe Jackson, and Didier Lasserre), to form WOO. “Hoo-Ha” (CIDI2402 / TDB900077) was created during a small tour in November 2023. Besides the title track and “Spacer w angielskim ogrodzie,” the main piece is “Why Not?” with a duration of 34:46. Here, Orins demonstrates his specialization in fractions of beats, a polyrhythmic and multicolored flickering and ticking with metal, skin, and wood, not dissimilar in its flexibility and fragility to the playing style of Martin Blume. Wodrascka hammers and tremolos in a strong contrast of large, seemingly erratic intervals and dense clusters of notes, from keyboard and plucking the wiry interior. Owczarek varies similarly between cool tones, bubbling chains, fleeting, popping, sputtering fragments, and deliberately even noisier sounds that interlock with Orins’ percussively scattered sound flakes. Wodrascka clusters bass and churns on the left edge, jingles and splinters on the right, to trilling and flickering alto, and ringing, flickering, hail-like sounds and quiet beats. Owczarek blows, snorts, presses, Wodrascka monotonously taps a single key – why not? The reduced playing field becomes all the more ostinato and increasingly rumbling and shaking, only Owczarek holds sustained notes leading to a sound hole of just soft crawling, iron rumbling, treble bowing, toneless blowing, rough chirping, monotonous pounding, bird-whistling squawking, and jumping piano sounds. The little walk in an English garden happens – ppp – at eye level with sniffling snouts and small clattering at the grass roots, soft dots mix with clicking sounds. With “Hoo-Ha” it becomes a lively clicking, clattering, ticking action with an alto as if liberated, pulling out all the stops from mouthpiece shorthand to lyrical to alarm. And Orins rubs along with Hoo-Ha, Hoo-Ha…

Expose.org / Peter Thelen

One might be inclined to run away with ears covered, hoping to never hear such cacophony again, but this is the world of free improv and extended techniques, where a close listen can be revelatory and patience rewards, but there are no guarantees. Along my way to prep for this review I’ve probably played Hoo-Ha around six times, maybe more, and though I’ve never really completely warmed up to it, I have reached a level of interest and understanding for what this improvising trio is up to. The odd band name, WOO is short for the surnames of each of the three individuals at hand: Christine Wodrascka on piano, Peter Orins on drums and percussion, and Paulina Owczarek on alto saxophone — the latter two met as members of Satoko Fujii’s Orchestra Berlin, and have been playing together as a duo previously. Wodrascka met Orins in the Franco-American ensemble Sangliers, along with Didier Lasserre, Dave Rempis, and Keefe Jackson. With a taste for adventure and instability, the trio takes the listener on a wild and crazy ride of chaos and dangerous escapades, especially on the 35-minute opening track “Why Not?” which is something of an endurance test right out of the gate; with the trio producing all kinds of improvised sounds, recorded live at a concert in Poitiers (France) in December 2023, along with the second, much shorter piece, “Spacer W Angielskim Ogrodzie,” which tends to quietly float by unnoticed. Only the title track, the last of the three, was recorded in studio around the same time as the live event. All taken, this is a powerful exercise in free-wheeling improvisation and experimentation that can go anywhere at anytime, custom made for the intrepid listener.

Salt Peanuts / Eyal Hareuveni

Polish, Kraków-based alto sax player Paulina Owczarek (the founder and conductor of Kraków Improvisers Orchestra) and French, Lille-based drummer Peter Orins first met while playing in Satoko Fujii Berlin Orchestra (Orins also plays with Fujii in the quartet KAZE), later recorded a duo album (You Never Know, Circum-Disc, 2021) and kept playing together. Fellow French pianist met Orins within the Franco-American ensemble Sangliers, with Dave Rempis, Keefe Jackson, and Didier Lasserre (Minuscules, The Bridge Sessions, 2020). These gifted improvisers first played as the trio woo ((Wodrascka Owczarek Orins) in Toulouse in 2022, and immediately established a deep connection. The trio’s debut album was recorded live during a short tour in December 2023 at Le Confort Moderne / Jazz à Poitiers, in Poitiers and Ronchin, with a short piece recorded in a studio in Rins’ hometown,  Lille. Orins mixed, edited and mastered the recordings, took the cover photo and did the graphic design.

The music was freely improvised, leaning on powerful and restless free jazz dynamics and subtle but no less expressive sonic experiments that employ distinct breathing and percussive techniques with a clear affinity for risk-taking. The first, 35-minute piece «Why Not?» best captures this trio’s adventurous essence, constant shifting dialogs that cleverly build and release tension, move between dramatic action and interactions, and enjoy colorful rhythmic drive. Masterful free improvisation without barriers or limits. The short and sparse «Spacer w angielskim ogrodzie» (A walk in an English garden) focuses on nuanced gestures made by extended techniques, while the last and short title piece highlights the hyperactive, mischievous spirit of this fine trio.

Nieuwe Noten / Ben Taffjin

Owczarek and Orins know each other through pianist Satoko Fujii, with whom they both regularly collaborate, while Wodrascka and Orins connected through the ensemble Sangliers. As a trio, they first played together in Toulouse in 2022, followed by a tour at the end of 2023. The first two pieces of ‘Hoo-Ha’ were recorded during that tour, specifically on December 14 at Comfort Moderne, Poitiers, while the third piece, the title track ‘Hoo-Ha,’ was recorded in the studio a few days earlier. We begin with ‘Why Not,’ by far the longest piece on this album at over half an hour. It all starts quite harmoniously, but that is short-lived. Soon, the three musicians set sail and the coherence becomes less straightforward. Notably, the piano passage by Wodrascka around the fifth minute, with Orins in the background, is remarkable. Of a completely different order, but no less worth mentioning, is the sound interplay between Owczarek and Orins that follows closely. After a wonderfully playful interlude, it is again Wodrascka who stands out with powerful piano play, interspersed with tormented performances by Owczarek, after which the whole accelerates. Around the twentieth minute, there is another beautiful passage where we hear Orins and Owczarek at work with hushed sounds. No idea what they are doing, but it sounds beautiful. Also noteworthy is the sound palette Orins creates by bowing his cymbals and the way Owczarek’s saxophone sound complements it perfectly. The second piece of this performance, ‘Spacer w angielskim ogrodzie,’ sounds very subtle, sometimes barely audible. Finally, the title track ‘Hoo-Ha’ stands out, particularly for the drumming, alongside Wodrascka’s percussive playing.