Opium has pieces from two very rare LPs on trumpeter Franz Koglmann's Pipe Records Label—Opium/For Franz (1976) and Flaps (1973).
The CD includes two pieces by Koglmann from Opium/For Franz: "Der Vogel/Opium" and "Carmilla"—both feature themes with multiphonic improvisation. Trumpeter Bill Dixon's "For Franz" is a more composed piece which features some excellent interaction between the trumpets and with Alan Silva's pizicatto and arco bass.
The four pieces from Flaps consist of two compositions each from Koglmann and soprano saxophonist Steve Lacy. Lacy's "Flops" starts with the theme, then goes into free improvisation and includes a bass solo and a dual soprano sax/trumpet improvisation. Koglmann's "Bowery I" starts with arco bass. Koglmann uses muted trumpet and there's some somewhat dated sounding electronic solo pulses and bleats from Gerd Geier. "Bowery II" is rather tuneful, and almost sounds like a bopish blues. The album closes with Lacy's "Flaps," which uses some typical Lacy song structures, including repetition and variation of phrase. The piece gets very free with independant simultaneous solos.
[Side note one: Unfortunately, the original tapes for these sessions were lost, and they had to be remastered from vinyl. There is some distortion, most prominent on some of the higher trumpet notes. Some pieces were omitted because the quality of Koglmann's only vinyl copies weren't good enough to remaster from.]
[Side note two: So far all of the Between the Lines releases have featured cover paintings by artist Jutta Obenhuber. Most of them have been rather subdued, but the cover for Opium is her most exuberant cover painting yet, and features streaks of translucent paint—bright, hot, red and orange over cool blues and greens, with some magenta peeking through.]
I'm glad that at least a portion of these sessions of New Orleans counterpoint meets post bop free jazz are available again.