A resident of Cologne, Germany - saxophonist/bandleader Norbert Stein’s microcosmic view of nineteenth century scientist, Dr. Faustroll’s “Pata” physics intimates a metaphorical musical translation. Whereas the crux of the matter pertains to the band’s singular characteristics!
While Stein serves as the composer and tenor saxophonist, the band is a multitasking machine, as the soloists toggle between drums, percussion, EFX, mallets, flutes and so on. They engage in a blitzing frenzy, marked by pulsating rhythms during the opener, “Parliament of Music.” With this piece and elsewhere, the musicians commingle electronic treatments such as simulated birdcalls and subliminal textures with Bop, free jazz, and micro-motifs. Nonetheless, part of the group’s calling card can be directly attributed to Stein and flutist Michael Heupet’s tightly organized and multipart unison choruses. As they embed quaint melodies within fleeting statements and cleverly articulated lyrical inventions. On “Wildes Denken,” Christoph Hillman produces electronic sounds that could be akin to hearing cartoon character banter atop ebulliently exercised world beat rhythms. Yet, on many of these works Stein and Heupel engage in soaring dialogue while the percussionists infuse throbbing rhythms and otherworldly environs into the grand scheme of things. Hence, an indicator that surfaces on “Atonal Citizen II” – where the rhythm section executes an Afro-Cuban groove in support of Stein and Heupel’s slightly dissonant statements. Other highlights include the band’s enactment of what could be a Tibetan ritual on “Chat Imaginair,” coupled with the soloists’ cat and mouse type exchanges. Hopefully Stein’s music will catch on here in the States! Especially when there appears to be a modest level of disparity in this genre as many artists are solely content with expanding upon previously proven formulas. Naturally, we’re not suggesting that the jazz scene is stale or witnessing a state of inertia. However, Stein’s “Pata” aggregation employs a paradigm that is distinguishable and irrefutably unique. (As of this writing there is no USA distribution although the “Pata Masters” recordings can be obtained from: Pata Music )
Personnel: Norbert Stein: tenor saxophone – Michael Heupel: flutes, sib-contra-bassflute – Klaus Mages: drums & percussion – Matthias von Welck: bass, slitdrums & deep mallets – Christoph Hillmann: electronics & percussion