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Saturday, May 10, 2008

Johannes Enders - Dome (Intuition, 2008) ****

German saxophonist Jonas Enders joins forces with Norwegian trumpetist Nils Petter Molvaer for a nice and gentle album, recorded at the St. Michael church in Altenstadt in Bavaria (these churches really become something of a hip thing to do these days), with Uli Wangenheim on bass clarinet, Ralf Schmidt on church organ, Saam Schlamminger on dohol, tomback and electronics, and John Hollenbeck on drums and percussion. Enders manages to create very open music, offering lots of possibilities for the soloists to perform, although the gound layers are rhythmic and the solos, especially Molvaer's, in a typical slow and lamenting form. The overall feel is just on the right side of kitsch, with sufficient room for innovative sound exploration to make this a worthwhile album. Especially Enders is strong, as is Hollenbeck's percussion work. All of the tracks contain composed melodies and structures around which the musicians improvise. Melodies and improvisations rarely go "outside", striving for aesthetic beauty rather than for new forms of expression. And some of the pieces really are beautiful, such as "Kameido" or "Rain At Night". This record may certainly appeal to a broader audience, although is possibly still very relative.