Swiss pianist Ulrich Gumpert's clearly illustrated Thelonious Monk influences underscore many of the rhythmic implementations amid a diverse bag of tricks on this exceptional studio date. It's a comprehensive program where each track imparts a distinct story via an aggregate of alluring themes.
The quartet initiates the festivities with an uplifting jazz waltz on the aptly titled "The Opener." Other tracks are engineered with quirky odd-metered choruses and a host of variables that inject an air of suspense and intrigue, as the musicians often re-frame motifs from the initial point of entry. They explore free-bop and fuse linear structures into the big picture as Gumpert's multifunctional processes breed mathematical inferences to Monk-like pulses and patterns along with harmonious hooks, probing movements and darting articulations by saxophonist Jorg Wickihalder. Nonetheless, the respective musicians' imaginative powers are at the forefront on a per-track basis, as we may ponder what other wily trajectories or routes the band will take next.
" The Bop & The Hard Be" is built on a fast and furious impetus. Here, the saxophonist goes on a feeding frenzy of sorts as Gumpert's rhythmic solo spot, rooted on off-center metrics is complemented by a snazzy hook. However, they tone it down with a wistful ballad during "Iffie." Indeed, the ensemble reaches out to a wide-ranging audience.
Gumpert leads his associates through a mind-bending series of whirling unison choruses, starting at a slow pace and gradually speeding up the groove into hyper-mode that encompasses maddening climaxes and fire-breathing solo spots by the frontline. Hence, the consuming public will be the benefactors of a superfine session that offers more detours, delicacies and surprises then your typical action-thriller flick.
The Opener; A New One; Recitativo Secco; The Bop & The Hard Be;
Süssholz; 100 Maassgelinzerte; Iffie; Number Nine; Ja?!; Scrollin’;
Jürg Wickihalder: saxophones; Ulrich Gumpert: piano; Jan Roder: bass;
Michael Griener: drums.