Julian and Roman Wasserfuhr, Mosaic, ACT **

Gran may prefer to wrap her chops around the accompanying chocs come gift time as she settles down for an evening by the telly in the company of top sway-a-long dream boat André Rieu. ''Nice young German jazz chaps, gran, for you - enjoy.'' ''More …

Published: 1 Sep 2022. Updated: 26 days.

Gran may prefer to wrap her chops around the accompanying chocs come gift time as she settles down for an evening by the telly in the company of top sway-a-long dream boat André Rieu. ''Nice young German jazz chaps, gran, for you - enjoy.'' ''More waltzes and Westlife next time,'' she twinkles. But was that an ominous shudder in her quaver I wonder. Mosaic is whipped off the Dansette quickly enough before Gran dives in to enthuse once again over 'Home To Donegal' and demolishes the heart-shaped raspberry cream and the one that looks like a triangle but undeniably still stuck to the roof of the mouth produces an after-taste that conjures a vision of treacly sludge. Double act brothers trumpeter Julian and pianist Roman Wasserfuhr clearly don't think you can have too many sweet centres on any one record and so repeat the trick endlessly. Lads, grans are a tough audience. Mosaic is the latest. So melodicism, a major key or three, pervasive decent chapness and the comfort blanket of a few plagal and perfect cadences are everywhere. But conversely the dynamic range is relatively small, the mastering genteel on the ear, and yet - mercifully - no animals were harmed in the making of Mosaic. Tinkle, toot and paraphrase is the method that works best of all for the brothers. Full blown improvisation is a distant land. 'Dakira' has the sort of piano line you will hear over the PA all day long in a Nero. The feeling of being smothered by niceness is excruciating.

Tags: 1 of 6 of the latest album and track reviews

Ferenc Nemeth, Unstandard, Sounderscore ***

There's something epic about the rapport Nemeth and Biolcati have. The drummer and bassist in Gilfema are here instead of iconic guitarist Lionel Loueke completing the sound with firstly saxophonist Dayna Stephens, a pal of Lionel's from his Monk …

Published: 31 Aug 2022. Updated: 26 days.

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There's something epic about the rapport Nemeth and Biolcati have. The drummer and bassist in Gilfema are here instead of iconic guitarist Lionel Loueke completing the sound with firstly saxophonist Dayna Stephens, a pal of Lionel's from his Monk Institute days, and long since a titan of tenor saxophone on the contemporary jazz scene himself. Stephens alternates with Marcus Strickland the Gregory Porter tenorist who is perhaps a less poetic but no less gutsier player than Stephens but still can add a lot of stirring vibrancy to his lines and certainly does here. Ferenc Nemeth has a tactile sound, meaning you hear the nuts and bolts of skin, snare and tom. These sound, of course they are, physical and so you discern the extra craft of player and the kit as if part of the same organism and neatly caught in the clean recording crispness. While not a power drummer at all (and similarly Massimo Biolcati is not a showy chops bassist either while of course he is always a master of time and metre) he shepherds us from a-to-b using a certain melodicism at the kit because he knows the tunes so well and expresses their tonality in his own way. UnStandard has a great version of Wayne Shorter classic 'Footprints' certainly one of the highlights here. All in all an album to put a smile on the face and a step in your walk as well as a call to arms to woodshed your playing a bit more equipped with some new ways-in to some quite familiar material delivered in an imaginative fashion. A sentimental choice to flag up is the lilting version of 'Dear Old Stockholm' where Stephens isn't afraid to play softly and yet manages to take the expression in the sound out to new places that you've probably never been to before. The 3-part drum suite at the centre of the album is not just for drummers but any student of the instrument will find plenty to savour there in something of a bravura display of pulse and feel. The use of a voice synthesizer utilising Nemeth's voice within the African polyphonic spree on 'N.O.' that has Strickland burning the place down is a very welcome surprise factor in the generous mix of material on an album that punches above its weight at every turn. Out on 30 September