Nik Bärtsch’s Ronin AWASE

Mainstage Theatre, 216 Union Street, Seattle

Nik Bärtsch: piano
 Sha: bass clarinet, alto saxophone Jeremias Keller : bass Kaspar Rast: drums

Six years have passed since Live, the last release from Nik Bärtsch’s Ronin, the long gap bridged in 2015 with Continuum, an album from Mobile, Bärtsch’s all-acoustic project. “I wanted to give Ronin the peace and space it needed to develop,” says the Swiss composer-pianist. “Not to put it under pressure, and to take all the steps necessary before the next recording.”

Awase, recorded at Studios La Buissonne in the South of France in October 2017 and produced by Manfred Eicher, updates us on the progress of one of the most original bands around, as well as the present-day status of ritual groove music, Bärtsch’s all-purpose term for his self-invented idiom equidistant from jazz and funk and contemporary composition. Almost by definition, rituals can’t be rushed, and Ronin has had some changes to absorb. With bassist Thomy Jordi replacing Björn Meyer in 2011, and percussionist Andi Pupato departing the following year, trimming the line-up from quintet to quartet, Ronin has gradually become a subtly different band. A leaner, more agile animal.

$27 General // $32 Premium