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Moritz Ecker: Die Mikronesische Mafia (2012)

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Moritz Ecker: Die Mikronesische Mafia How we rate: our writers tend to review music they like within their preferred genres.

Berlin-based guitarist Moritz Ecker's five-part composition for an ensemble of nine musicians features his main characteristics as composer: versatility that is not bound to any orthodox definition of jazz; a flair for emotional, dramatic narratives; and a healthy sense of irony, as can be grasped from its title, Die Mikronesische Mafia.

The composition was recorded in 2009. Ecker's guitar sketches out the cyclical, skeletal lines of each of the composition's five parts, later fleshed out by his rock-solid rhythm section and reeds. All parts progress methodically towards a powerful coda, while stressing simple lines orchestrated skillfully for Ecker's nonet.

There are a few variations. The second part begins with a lyrical duet between Ecker and pianist Oliver Siegel, but soon seeks a gradual buildup of dramatic tension. The third part contrasts between Ecker's raw, surf-like lines and Axel Knappmeyer's celestial flute playing. Later, it also features the earthy tones of trombonist Gerd Jentzsch. The fifth part summarizes all the previous parts' elements into an infectious, energetic finale, emphasizing dramatic passages, tight interplay, and the keen sense of joy and passion in performing it.

Only 30 minutes long, Die Mikronesische Mafia's compositional strategies are often transparent, but remain highly enjoyable.

Track Listing: Die Mikronesische Mafia 1; Die Mikronesische Mafia 2; Die Mikronesische Mafia 3; Die Mikronesische Mafia 4; Die Mikronesische Mafia 5.

Personnel: Axel Knappmeyer: tenor sax, flute; Gerd Jentzsch: trombone; Florian Walther: alto sax; Roman Siewecke: alto sax; Lars Kuklinski: trumpet; Oliver Siegel: organ, piano; Moritz Ecker: guitars; Benjamin Garcia: bass; Martin Thissen: drums.

Record Label: Self Produced


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