How we rate: our writers tend to review music they like within their preferred genres.
The year was 2006, the setting was the Lantaren/Venster Theater in Rotterdam, and the initial culling from this live performance by Gatecrashled by trumpeter Eric Vloeimansappeared under the rubric Gatecrashin' (Challenge, 2007). The remaining material from that performance is released as Hyper and, just as its predecessor, it does not thwart the best jazz has to offer in any of its stylistic mores.
"Magnolia," like a lot of the material interpreted by this ensemble, has a delightful, catchy and simple melodic character. Infectiously rhythmic, it opens up with a keen Fender Rhodes solo, followed by an equal one from Vloeimans on his Hub van Laar trumpet, enhanced by doubling electronic effects. Its tail dissolves rather effectively.
"Prince of Darkness" is an ode to Miles Davis and is loosely based on Davis' "Tutu." Once again, simplicity effectively masks depth but not strength of character or communication, as the bassist and drummer convey an efficient swaggering feeling. This gives way to an initial set of accompanying electronic washes from keyboardist Jeroen van Vliet that, teamed up with the leader's noirish, muted and high-graded performance throughout, duly conveys the quasi-mystical coolness embodied by Davis' artistic persona. The second half of the performance belongs to van Vliet, whose ideas are to the point. His touch is divine and his musical wisdom shows in his capitalization of the sonic range available to him, through both the Fender Rhodes and the enhanced keyboards.
Vloeimans describes "Bonzi" as "the funny little lapdog in the front of my car." Judging by what is going on in this ditty, it seems that Vloeimans owns a Middle Eastern Iberian Chihuahua that would have fit rather well as an ultra-chic European character in the Beverly Hills Chihuahua (2008) movie.
The bonus track, "Voix du Fou," is yet another fascinating ditty that, given its Henri Michaux-derived subtitle, seemingly seeks to assail insanity as a means of preventing the death of one's voice. If this is Vloeimans' idea of insanity and expression of one's voice, let me be the first to utter a deranged shout!
Bassist Gulli Gudmundsson hails from Iceland and, for Vloeimans, the Nordic musical sense of emptiness and serenity is quite important. Gudmundsson appropriately wrote and performed as such in "Ravens and Wolves."
The rest of the material attests to the fact that Gatecrash's music is breathable, seriously unpretentious, fun, beautiful, profound and just plain good.
Track Listing: Magnolia; Prince of Darkness; Hyper; Bonzi; Piccolo David; Ravens and Wolves; Voix du Four.
Personnel: Eric Vloeimans: trumpet and effects; Gulli Gudmundsson: acoustic and electric basses and effects; Jasper van Hulten: drums; Jeroen van Vliet: Fender Rhodes and keyboards; Michel Banablia: sample (7).