Up, Down, Strange, Charm and Bottom. What might, on a first glance, sound like strange dance moves from a bizarre choreography are in fact the names of quarks. Some say that no quark in an atomic nucleus moves without its counterpart also doing so in another atomic nucleus, even if the other atomic nucleus is all the way over the other side of the globe. These processes running on a subatomic level are even attributed to phenomena such as 'love at first sight'. Like tiny parts within an atomic nucleus, the four musicians of Double Trouble seem to pulsate, firing their improvisations at each other. No note exists in a vacuum, finding instead its pair and its extension in the melodic lines of the other musicians. Peter Ehwald improvises with a certainty that says it is the openness of the musical dramaturgy which lends the music its drama and excitement. Ehwald's sounds - charming, strange or up and down - are echoed in the vibrations of the two terrific and virtuoso basses. Up, Down, Strange, Charme and Bottom is not as through-composed as Double Trouble's last two releases, challenging Andreas Lang and Robert Landfermann - both on bass - and Jonas Burgwinkel on drums to create orbits of their own. The quartet appears to be a common body of sound - steering through Ehwald's compositions, often with microcosmic density, sometimes in total equalisation - and thus develops a very individual tonal language. The heritage of jazz remains ever present in this musical nucleus, and thus inspires Double Trouble's constantly searching music.
“I want to act out something wild and create beautiful sounds at the same time; warm, contrapuntal, free indeed and liberated, yet still thoroughly composed,” says Ehwald about his search for what is supposed to contrast with the mainstream. He often takes it from constellations, going with a basic idea and nurturing it. One can also witness this in his long-lasting quartet, Paragon, featuring UK drummer Jon Scott, and pianist Arthur Lea. With Robert Landfermann and Jonas Burgwinkel (both to be heard and admired recently with Pablo Held on ‘The Trio Meets John Scofield’), as well as the wild Berlin-based Dane, Andreas Lang, he created such a group. After the first studio album in 2013, Double Trouble have tested the frontiers of their music in many concerts. Consequently the second release documents Double Trouble Live. Andreas Lang contributes earthiness, Robert Landfermann produces improvisational techniques from far beyond the jazz idiom: they are two poles ideally complementing each other, enriching the enormous live impact of Double Trouble. Jonas Burgwinkel’s drumming is imaginative, unpredictable and energetic. These three musical partners and kindred spirits provide the ideal context for Peter Ehwald’s diversified, emotional and virtuosic play on the saxophone. In his own words: ‘I was looking for a combination of instruments and players with whom I can explore an ever-changing mixture of song-like structures, chamber music and free formal improvisation.’
“Double Trouble Live” represents an impressive piece of work from Ehwald and features some strong melodic themes for this unusual trio to get their teeth into. Ehwald is a superb technician, a fluent and often inspired soloist and a consistently interesting composer. He’s a musician who will continue to become an increasingly important figure on the international jazz scene. – The Jazzman, Jan. 8, 2016
The whole group works excellently together as a dynamic, driving unit, and the nine tracks here are impressively cohesive. – John Watson / Jazz Camera, Oct. 24, 2015
The stripped-down setting puts a lot of pressure on the sax, which dominates by necessity; the rhthm section, though, play with gymnastic grace and fluidity, clearly enjoying the absence of piano or guitar or even other horns. – Marcus O’Dair / Jazzwise, Dec. 2015