Katrin Scherer: The Bliss (2010)
Saxophonist/flautist Katrin Scherer brings an impressive presence in her roles as composer and musician on The Bliss. Her writing underpins an ease, not only in assimilating different styles into an artful whole, but in transposing and setting up panels of sound to give the band an organic structure to manipulate and develop.
Scherer, a German, studied the flute for 11 years before taking on the alto saxophone and then the baritone sax. She played with the Peter Herbolzheimer's BuJazzO, the Jazz Youth Orchestra of Germany, and then with Swinging Europe, the European Youth Jazz Orchestra, before going to New York on a scholarship where she cemented her skills under saxophonist Antonio Hart and composer Michael Philip Mossman. Experiment and freedom came to the fore with UFO (Unidentified Flying Orchestra), the group that she co-founded with Miriam Frank and Sven Decker in 2005. These attributes are the tributaries through which the music on The Bliss flows.
A band makes its mark by its ability to seek the unforeseen, and the sextet does just that. Composition sets up the framework on "Château Rollan de By," where new age and classical music merge in a shimmer. Into this comes the brass, lines at a tangent, meandering across before meeting at the intersection of free expression.
The implicit beauty of "Sunrise in Attendorf" is set in motion by Scherer and Sven Decker on bass clarinet, with Scherer breaking from the symmetry when trumpeter John-Dennis Renken comes in. The aural texture glistens until Scherer breaks it open in a streak of crackling phrases, opening the door for guitarist Andreas Wahl, who gradually turns his open-ended incursion into rock territory. Trajectory, pulse and impetus find logical nooks before they come back, full circle, to seal an enticing journey.
A tempest of free ideas characterizes "Draft" before the mood settles into defined motifs. But stasis is never part of the plan and as the bass and drums drive the beat into a solid groove the wind instruments dance on top, a shard of notes from the saxophone is met with the controlled drive of the trumpet before it all settles into a conversation between flute and drums.
Scherer is inspired and so is the band. All of which nails a record that is chock-full of inspired imagination.
Track Listing: Château Rollan de By; Eclipse; Sunrise in Altendorf; Highveld; Lowveld; Draft; Katernberg Katharsis.
Personnel: Katrin Scherer: alto saxophone, flute; John-Dennis Renken: trumpet; Sven Decker: tenor saxophone, bass clarinet, clarinet; Andreas Wahl: electric guitar, 12-string acoustic guitar; Sebastian Räther: double-bass; Christian Thomé: drums, glockenspiel.