Ralph Reichert Quartet with Randy Sandke: Reflections (2004)
Guest trumpeter Randy Sandke has an interesting history that saw him turn down an opportunity to play with Janis Joplin because of a hernia in his throat, a condition which, while ultimately cured, caused him to eschew the trumpet and work as a guitarist for most of the '70s. He returned to the trumpet again in the '80s, working with artists including Vince Giardino, Bob Wilbur and, most notably, Benny Goodman's last band in the mid-'80s, which established him as a fine player in the swing tradition. He possesses a sharp tone, and a direct and economical style.
Drummer Wolff Reichert demonstrates a sense of time, conciseness and flair that comes from one of his main influences, Steve Gadd. Pianist Buggy Braune is a comfortable accompanist, and a soloist who brings together traditions as diverse as Oscar Peterson and Bill Evans. Bassist Andreas Henze may have a background in classical music, but here he swings hard, contributing a number of well thought-out solos. And Ralph Reichert is a melodic player with a sense of the dramatic that comes from the Joe Lovano school; this comes as no surprise as he also works with guitarist Hendrik Meyer, exploring and expanding on the work done by Lovano with John Scofield.
The set list may be conventional, with the band working their way through well-heeled tunes including "Darn That Dream," "It Might As Well Be Spring" and "What Is This Thing Called Love," and giving a more straightforward and less idiosyncratic reading of Monk's "Reflections," but the set is wonderfully paced, generating energy at just the right time, while knowing exactly when to slow down the pace and let the audience breathe. Without a doubt the Birdland Jazzclub in Hamburg must have been an extremely fun place to be on March 8, 2002, when this set was recorded. What Reflections lacks in creative originality it more than makes up for in sheer engagement, playfulness and fun. And in this case that's absolutely more than enough.
Track Listing: Just in Time; My Ideal; Reflections; Darn That Dream; Bernie's Tune; Nancy With the Laughing Face; It Might As Well Be Spring; What Is This Thing Called Love
Personnel: Ralph Reichert (tenor saxophone), Buggy Braune (piano), Andreas Henze (bass), Wolff Reichert (drums)
With special guest Randy Sandke (trumpet)
Record Label: nagel heyer records