Sun Nov. 19, 2023

Wolfgang Puschnig 'Fulsome X' (A/USA)

Wolfgang Puschnig: alto saxophone, flute
Asja Valcic: cello
Jon Sass: tuba
Reinhardt Winkler: drums

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Chatting with Wolfgang Puschnig about the origins of his group FULSOME left me thinking that I seemed to know more about this project than I thought I did. I recalled a conversation with Jamaaladeen Tacuma years ago about Jon Sass, and maybe even heard some of the music from an earlier version of this project at some point, but I couldn’t place it.

Two things that were cleared up for me by Wolfgang was that Fulsome doesn’t have a distinct meaning, he really likes the way the word sounds, and that’s that. The second bit of clarity is related to the afore mentioned, I think that I’ve connect with this project previously. Once again, Wolfgang revealed that there were indeed previous versions of this band, with a few different members, including Jamaaladeen Tacuma. He also noted that there’s a prior recording that was release during the pandemic that features guitarist Rick Iannacone.

So, this new release focus’ on the core ensemble of Jon Sass, Reinhardt Winkler, Asja Valcic and of course Wolfgang Puschnig. I must say that for me, this was love at first listen. I’ve been a fan of Wolfgang’s work for quite some time and really appreciated the diversity in concepts and configurations. Teaming saxophone with drums, tuba and cello provides some unexpected moments and fresh jolt of bliss.

Wolfgang’s years of diverse musical experiences continue to pay dividends. His playing in wonderful. Wolfgang’s extended musical relationship with Jon Sass continues to provide opportunities for listeners to experience great music. Jon’s superior skillsets on tuba are on display throughout this project and amazing to behold. He’s undoubtedly one of the great tubists of our time. Equally, Reinhardt has been in the Wolfgang’s circle for quite some time and the evidence of their symbiotic relationship is quite apparent. There’s a noticeable vibe that is present between the two of them. Cellist Asja Valcic has been in Wolfy’s orbit for a shorter period but her vitality, dexterity, and tenacity shine through. She is a special talent that works well in this context.

This fantastic “Fulsome” four come together beautifully on a truly wonderful project that is extremely entertaining and very fulfilling. Their selections are vast, at times emotional and often joyful.