German pianist and Hammond B3 organist Matthias Bublath realizes a long-held passion of recording his own big-band and so, after eleven albums to date, Eight Cylinder Bigband finally comes to the fore in splashy audacious fashion, encompassing a musical spectrum which ranges from blues, gospel and soul/funk to Afro-Caribbean flavors documented on twelve swinging compositions. The music is designed around the Hammond organ, Bublath's preferred instrument, but leaves quite a lot of space to feature solos from various players.
His 17-piece orchestra is an all-German line up, with the exception of trumpeter and guest Takuya Kuroda with whom the pianist has collaborated for years in New York. The brass section comprises some of the best big-band soloists on the German jazz scene, while the rhythm section has been performing with the leader since 2018. Together this band produces an explosive sound which resonates.
The opening "Bigband Intro Joint," is a brief but loud introduction to the band and a preview of what is to come. A little of the blues surfaces on "Matight Intro," featuring Bublath on the organ, with light accompaniment from Kuroda on what becomes, early, one of the warmer tunes of the set. The funky grooves come to light on "Eight Cylinder," with a perky alto solo from Axel Kuhn and some more Kuroda horn play.
Shades of the gospel sound seep through on the slow "Gospel Song," with elements of the soulful sound coming through on direction-changing "Home Cookin.'" The mood takes a different turn on the Latin-styled "Return to the Source," a style which Bublath has an affinity for, evidenced by his 2007 release Latin Jazz.
The funky and soul styles seem well-entrenched here and can be enjoyed on such tracks as "Dump the Goose" and "Sad Belt," before a propulsive session of varied music is capped off with the finale song "Bolero," another Afro-Cuban styled big-band arrangement which one cannot just hear once, repeated spins leaving one fully engaged.
As big-band albums go, Eight Cylinder Bigband is no standard traditional collection of jazz, this swinging big-band splash offering a variety of rhythms and grooves to shake your bones to. There is some exceptional music from Matthias Bublath on an album worth waiting for. Well done!
Bigband Intro Joint; Matight Intro; Nice Green Bo; Eight Cylinder; Gospel Song; Home Cookin'; Return to the Source; Dump the Goose; Sad Belt; Mr. Scales; Outro Blow; Bolero.
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