Reviewed by Joe
I noticed that one of our new writers Philip Coombs (kind of) apologized for reviewing an album from 2011. Well I can tell you if you look into our archives there's piles of albums that we just can't get through quickly enough to review, hence the new members of the review team. Well, this is another one that slipped through the net from 2011. So here you have it, the German sax man Daniel Erdmann with Samuel Rohrer (drums), Vincent Courtois (cello) and Frank Möbus (guitar). A record with not only a very classy line up, but also a selection of very stylish compositions.
You won't class this as free jazz, nor avant-garde. Best of all it's so NOT American jazz, no chromatic approach tones, no tired post bop-isms, it's music with European roots, and deeply planted ones. The music is difficult to describe even though it's mostly composed. If anything the music is slightly 'rock' orientated (or at least rhythmically), a very beat driven music, which has some very attractive melodies. In fact the choice of musicians is a real stroke of genius as the combination of Frank Möbus' guitar with either Daniel Erdmann's sax or the cello playing of Vincent Courtois work a treat, the four musicians (to include Rohrer's drums) bring out the subtler points of the music. The three musicians swap between roles, playing lines together either as part of a melody, part of a bass line, an ostinato, or independently as a soloist or to carry the main theme. It's almost impossible to pick out one track to write about as all of them have something interesting. 'Broken Trials' (tk4) has a wonderful cello melody over a riffy guitar and drums unfolding into a glorious melodic free for all which becomes a sort of suite which passes through various melodic landscapes some free, others rock! The title track 'How to Catch a Cloud' (tk5) literally hangs over you like it's title suggests, a cloud. Waves of cello, sax, guitar and drums spread out like some ominous storm that's brewing. Or the wonderfully relaxed '5463' (tk2) which opens in such an unhurried fashion, becoming a menacing cello/sax melody full of tension which opens up to give space for some fine solo work for Vincent Courtois' cello.
Finally what I can tell you is I listened over and over to this record due to the excellent material which is highlighted by the groups fine playing. Everyone really plays with subtle precision and the group sound of cello, sax, guitar and drums really make a great texture. There's an excellent balance between solos and melody. The group doesn't go for long burn out heroic soloing, more small compliments to the piece itself, often returning unnoticed to play a melody or join a riff which has recently accompanied them.
Highly recommended for anyone who likes skillfully crafted melodies with never ending twists and turns, thoughtful ensemble work and solos that never outstay their welcome.
Buy from Instantjazz.
Buy from Instantjazz.