All About Jazz needs your help and we have a deal. Pay $20 and we'll hide those six pesky Google ads that appear on every page, plus this box and the slideout box on the right for a full year! You'll also fund website expansion.
Berlin-based guitarist Moritz Ecker's five-part composition for an ensemble of nine musicians features his main characteristics as composer: versatility that is not bound to any orthodox definition of jazz; a flair for emotional, dramatic narratives; and a healthy sense of irony, as can be grasped from its title, Die Mikronesische Mafia.
The composition was recorded in 2009. Ecker's guitar sketches out the cyclical, skeletal lines of each of the composition's five parts, later fleshed out by his rock-solid rhythm section and reeds. All parts progress methodically towards a powerful coda, while stressing simple lines orchestrated skillfully for Ecker's nonet.
There are a few variations. The second part begins with a lyrical duet between Ecker and pianist Oliver Siegel, but soon seeks a gradual buildup of dramatic tension. The third part contrasts between Ecker's raw, surf-like lines and Axel Knappmeyer's celestial flute playing. Later, it also features the earthy tones of trombonist Gerd Jentzsch. The fifth part summarizes all the previous parts' elements into an infectious, energetic finale, emphasizing dramatic passages, tight interplay, and the keen sense of joy and passion in performing it.
Only 30 minutes long, Die Mikronesische Mafia's compositional strategies are often transparent, but remain highly enjoyable.
Track Listing: Die Mikronesische Mafia 1; Die Mikronesische Mafia 2; Die Mikronesische Mafia 3; Die Mikronesische Mafia 4; Die Mikronesische Mafia 5.
Personnel: Axel Knappmeyer: tenor sax, flute; Gerd Jentzsch: trombone; Florian Walther: alto sax; Roman Siewecke: alto sax; Lars Kuklinski: trumpet; Oliver Siegel: organ, piano; Moritz Ecker: guitars; Benjamin Garcia: bass; Martin Thissen: drums.
I love jazz because anything is possible; it has few rules and the best jazz breaks those ones. I prefer free improv because it doesn't really have any rules at all.
I was first exposed to jazz in my teens (in the late sixties).
The first jazz record I bought was Filles de Kilimanjaro by Miles Davis, shortly followed by Extrapolation by John McLaughlin.
My advice to new listeners is to listen as widely as possible and not to make snap judgments--stick with it.