Blue Moods. Myth and Wisdom. Posi-Tone Records ***

It's often a good idea to wallow from time to time in the music of Charles Mingus given how he remains one of the most significant of all jazz composers. And certainly you can do this here on a very easy going undemanding canter through some Mingus …

Published: 10 Jan 2022. Updated: 4 months.

It's often a good idea to wallow from time to time in the music of Charles Mingus given how he remains one of the most significant of all jazz composers. And certainly you can do this here on a very easy going undemanding canter through some Mingus classics. This album could have been made decades ago by the sound of it. It's rich with a ringing lush tenor varnish and a generous bass swinging discipline from Boris Kozlov at the heart of it all as a twinkling gregarious presence. Looking for more of a raucous sense of freedom or postmodern re-examination? No, it's not her. But nostalgia, and not only 'Nostalgia in Times Square', is certainly a smouldering factor at play. But if completely new to the world of Mingus step right in as some of the gems of his huge catalogue of compositions are included and rendered lovingly and faithfully. And the Blue Moods guys (collective personnel: tenor saxophonist Diego Rivera, pianist Art Hirahara, bassist Boris Kozlov, drummer Joe Strasser, pianist David Kikoski on three tracks) have a ball into the bargain.

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Kapelle17, Die Wolken sind da, wo sie immer sind, Loumi Records ***

Tentative to begin with 'Abacaxi' melts into a groove after a while. But it's not the most impressive track from this very dynamic German five-piece who include Paul Janoschka. He shows his considerable soloing prowess on keys when the real meat of …

Published: 10 Jan 2022. Updated: 4 months.

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Tentative to begin with 'Abacaxi' melts into a groove after a while. But it's not the most impressive track from this very dynamic German five-piece who include Paul Janoschka. He shows his considerable soloing prowess on keys when the real meat of the piece is reached. And yet later on the saxophone of Benedikt Jäckle on 'Ma Beleza I' grabs the ears far more in context set against the Mary Halvorson-like method of guitarist Johannes Mann who of all the players stands out most obviously. Bassist Jakob Obleser opens 'Siblings' which is the pick of the tracks and involves Mann switching to a driving contemporary fusion sound after a touch of a Lionel Loueke-ism to begin with (that Afrojazz style returns on 'Mein Aerosol is dein Aerosol'). The band spreads its net widely from an ECM-like spaciness on 'Metamorphosis' again strong on composition while the second part of 'Ma Beleza' has more of a Mediterranean feel, this ably supplied by the versatile Mann. 'SKB' even dips ito toes into nu-jazz as there is a sort of a Sam Gendel feel here which threw me a bit. By time travelling contrast the third part of 'Ma Beleza' has an old-fashioned tenor sax balladic opening but if it has a fault the album flits all over the place too much. So there is even a snarling electric guitar opening to 'Vale'. The title track has a zen-like ring to its meaning in English ''the clouds are where they always are'' and is kept to last. So too much is crammed in here to fully digest but in its favour there is a lot of inspirational group play and compositional flair that mark Kapelle17 out from the crowd and make this a worthwhile listen from a band new to us but hopefully one that we'll hear a lot more of in the future.