Click here to [close]

Thursday, April 4, 2013

Die Enttäuschung - Vier Halbe (Intakt, 2012) ****

By Stef

Here is the menu: four brilliant musicians, Rudi Mahall on bass clarinet and baritone sax, Axel Dörner on trumpet, Jan Roder on bass, and Uli Jennessen on drums compose and perform in the best jazz tradition, but with a twist. The compositions are short, between to five minutes, and they sound like a jazz quartet from the fifties,but then not. They have this twist that takes it a step further, across boundaries in today's times, but without losing the foundation of the composition. Some of those compositions would please mainstream listeners, such as for instance the beautiful "Aqua Satin Flame", but then the next track, "Das Jan vom Stück" is short and wayward, full of crazy interactions, and is fully in avant-garde territory. And that's how the entire twenty-track alternation goes, with tunes that either stick in your memory or arranged parts which no matter how often you listen to them, will still sound ungraspable. 

Unlike other bands that have tried similar approaches, they are never wild, nor full of energy. They just enjoy the cleverness of the interaction, the beauty of some themes, the musical finds, the pleasure of playing music together, the pulse and the grooves and the mad arrangements and subtle jokes. There is no pretense here, no claim for absolutes, no grand ambitions, no deep emotions, but in the very spirit of Monk music as intelligent entertainment, full of quirky twists, dissonance and unpredictability, putting the listener frequently on the wrong foot, while keeping a solid rhythmic basis.  

At times you wonder how they do it, but then they've playing together for so long, and they've probably played these tunes so often before recording it, that it almost comes naturally.

Their previous album already dates from 2009, and we can only wish that they released more of this.

Great and clever fun!


ulmerz said...

Well written, Stef! Exactly how the CDs are. It's always a pleasure to listen anew to them, as there always new twists are to be heard. Phantastic four they are...