By Robert Ham | Published September 2020
The name of saxophonist Silke Eberhard’s ever-morphing ensemble Potsa Lotsa derives from an alternate title for the Eric Dolphy composition “Number Eight.” When she started recording under the name, Eberhard was devoted to celebrating Dolphy’s work. In this beefed-up version of the group—a tentet featuring cello, vibes and plenty of horns—the concentration is on original material, but material tapping into Dolphy’s sound.
Each track on Silk Songs For Space Dogs nestles into a zone where free-jazz and post-bop start to bleed together. “Max Bialystock” opens with various instruments sputtering out little runs of notes and noise, clashing and connecting until it all bursts forth into a trampling rhythm that’s equal parts Duke Ellington and The Lounge Lizards. Kay Lübke’s drums and Gerhard Gschlößl’s trombone merrily tumble into one another at the midpoint of album closer “Song In Orange”; the mischievous tension between the two sides of Eberhard’s compositional brain gives Silk Songs its spark. Those moments of disarray never seem to arrive when you expect, though. And on the rare occasion that Potsa Lotsa decides to play it entirely straight, the relief that arrives as suspense vanishes is divine.
Silk Songs For Space Dogs: Max Bialystock; Crossing Colours; Skeletons And Silhouettes; Fünfer, Or Higher You Animals; Ecstasy On Your Feet; Schirm; One For Laika; Song In Orange. (51:47)
Personnel: Silke Eberhard, alto saxophone; Nikolaus Neuser, trumpet; Gerhard Gschlößl, trombone; Jürgen Kupke, clarinet; Johannes Fink, cello; Patrick Braun, tenor saxophone, clarinet; Taiko Saito, vibraphone; Antonis Anissegos, piano; Igor Spallati, bass; Kay Lübke, drums.