One for Cisco

NoBusiness Records
Thomas Borgmann / Max Johnson / Willi Kellers album "One for Cisco" LP.
released February 2016

Recorded live on 31st January, 2015 at the New York Tenor Sax Festival 2015, Ibeam-Brooklyn by Randy Thaler
Mastered by Arunas Zujus at MAMAstudios
Design by Oskaras Anosovas
Produced by Danas Mikailionis
Co-producer - Valerij Anosov


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"Borgmann carves out his insistent motivic and timbral variations with a broad breathy vibrato. However far out he goes, with falsetto asides and false-fingered bleating, there remains a melodic core to his work.
One of the masters of European free jazz drumming, Kellers rarely settles into a regular rhythm, but there's always a pulse. His repeated phrases mesh well with the hornman, while the steady contrapuntal stream from Johnson's big-toned bass means he fits right in.

On tenor Borgmann plays as if he has some old spiritual at the back of his mind, never explicitly stated, but always informing his choices.
(...) they've set out a strong manifesto and an argument for sustained collaboration."
~ John Sharpe @

"It will take much more than a ‘Washington read’ of Thomas Borgmann’s résumé to experience the breadth and scope of his dedication to modern music, his grasp of tonal colour, the vivid timbre of his saxophones and his gift for both the vigour and gentleness of the rounded note.
However, it only takes a few bars of ‘One for Cisco’ for a listener – not just the trained ear – to marvel at all these qualities as the notes in question emerge from the bell of his saxophone, rise as if they are lighter than air, pirouette like an ensemble of dancers executing a complex, balletic choreography of his own making.
(...) The result is a masterful workout of modern music both composed and improvised by three marvellous musicians."
~ Raul da Gama, 9'2016,

"One long piece, recorded live at the New York Tenor Sax Festival in 2015 – which must have been a very good place to display the bold talents of Thomas Borgmann!
Yet in addition to some strong tenor work at the front of the improvisation, the record also features Thomas on a bit of soprano sax, and toy melodica too – and some passages seem to have him stepping back entirely, to allow for stronger focus on the beautiful bowed work of Max Johnson on bass, and the complicated patterns of Willi Kellers on drums.
The work's steeped in the best traditions of free improvisation – from the ESP generation through FMP and all the best contemporary underground work – almost all bases that seem to get touched in the extended performance!"
~ Dusty Groove, Chicago

"A lovely set, artfully presented by treasured Lithuanian label NoBusiness."
~ Stewart Smith, 'the Quietus'

"The great German free/jazz saxist, Thomas Borgmann, had not played in the US since the turn of the century, so Mr.Cisco Bradley invited him back and set up a handful of gigs.
To make things even better, another legendary figure, German drummer Willi Kellers also was invited to play in the US for the first time, considering that Kellers is in his sixties.
The ubiquitous NY bassist, Max Johnson, completed this trio, so the set was even better that one might imagine.
I attended this set and it was one of the magical sets that you don't forget.

This LP-only release captures that set in all of its glory. The set began quietly and built to a grand conclusion. Both Mr. Borgmann and Mr. Kellers are on the same wavelength, moving together while Mr. Johnson also knits a tight tapestry between them.
Much of the first side is restrained yet consistently enchanting. There is an extraordinary soprano sax solo towards the end of the first side but most of the real fireworks takes place on the second side and they are equally amazing! It doesn't get any better than this so dive in today and catch a wave of dynamic, free spirits."
~ Bruce Lee Gallanter, Downtown Music Gallery, New York

JazzRightNow, New York: Best Live Concert 2015

"C’est de façon plutôt informelle que débute cette improvisation en deux parties – bien distinctes l’une de l’autre, le vinyle ne gêne donc pas l’écoute.
Allégeance faite à l’école FMP, Borgmann ne craint pas les comparaisons et emmène son trio avec une volonté certaine, mais avec subtilité aussi.
D’autant que ses phrases turbulentes comme ses élans retenus profitent d’un archet accrocheur et d’une batterie changeante – si c’est à Nicholson que Kellers fait penser en première face, c’est à Charles qu’il semble en appeler en seconde.
Reste à un harmonica de conclure : la gentillesse des deux notes entre lesquels il va et vient « excuse » tous les écarts dont le jeu s’est nourri."
~ Guillaume Belhomme, 'Le son du grisl'

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"To dzięki jego otwartej postawie oraz znakomitemu panowaniu nad dźwiękiem i cudownemu porozumieniu z Kellersem, Borgmann ma komfort grania jakiego pozazdrościł by mu każdy saksofonista. Kellers i Johnson tworzą bowiem dla saksofonisty przestrzeń dla improwizacji i osadzają jego w cudownym rozedrganym, a jednocześnie otwartym na wszelkie zmiany i sonorystyczne wycieczki, swingu.
I dzięki temu lider może w pełni zaprezentować swoją znakomitą, twórczą formę. Świetne, znakomicie przy tym zrealizowane nagranie!"
~ Marek Zając, 'multikultiproject'

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"His sound is the sum of many styles, integrating different voices to produce a distinct musical personality. One for Cisco is an excellent example of this. At the beginning of the set Borgmann plays a very romantic solo, a slow blues, vibrato laden, reminiscent of great saxophonists like Ben Webster or Coleman Hawkins.
He‘s supported by Johnson’s bass lines and dead-on harmonics while Kellers drives the piece forward.
In a barely noticeable fashion, Borgmann shifts the mood with bebop lines so that the rhythm section can move away from the groove - a classic Ayler moment – a propulsive and beautiful free saxophone trio at work.
(...) Borgmann makes sure that there’s always a melody below the free outbreaks, deep down he‘s a great balladeer and the others let him have his way.
(...) One for Cisco is nice and old-fashioned (in a positive way) and should convince the skeptics."
~ Martin Schray, ''




© thomas borgmann | impressum