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Drama is a fitting title for pianist/composer Julius Windisch's debut album for QFTF; the musical atmosphere is mercurial enough to parallel a theatrical odyssey through some unknown frontier. Armed with his eponymously named quintet, Windisch's compositions permeate with vigor, collectively exhibiting just one case of the raw talent found within the legion of young composers in jazz today.
On the opening title track, Windisch juxtaposes the percussiveness of a single, repeated piano chord with the dynamic pull of an overlying sinuous melody. This running in place effect is fractured in two by an ambient interlude housing languid guitar runs before space reserved for band soloing is provided. The mellow "Orientierungslosigkeit" is another prime cut in showcasing the changeable nature of Windisch's compositions. Commencing with a sauntering call and response melody between sax and trumpet, the pace staggers to allow fluid trumpet soloing before recovering its stride for the finale.
A hallmark of the album is Windisch's use of the Fender Rhodes (and electric bass for that matter). Besides harkening back to that classic fusion sound of old, the soft, glassy timbre adds an ethereal quality that seems intrinsic to the compositions it's present on. Take "Achtung" for example: the Rhodes' sustain fills empty gaps in the opening vamp, while also being subtle enough to allow the horns to cut through the mix when needed. On the other hand, the classic, treble-filled biting attack of the Rhodes comes in handy while laying down the groundwork for a spasmodic melody on "Seoul."
In sum, the compositional aptitude of Julius Windisch paired with the musical agility of his band has assembled an inspired debut with a varied range of mood and great production quality.
I was first exposed to jazz while learning to play chess with my uncles. They would play smooth jazz, and then switch up to more standard types of jazz. But, when they played Kind of Blue by Miles Davis, I was
hooked and I haven't looked back.