Funk Tunes and Love Songs from QFTF

Geno Thackara By

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Experience of Life

Life of course is too sprawling and complicated to fit into any tidy box, and so it's no surprise that this Experience of Life is much the same. The members of Init like their groove-jazz at a spry mid-tempo with fun interplay at the core, which allows for all kinds of flavors in the process. This exciting Swiss trio is a resolutely modern one not opposed to a few glimpses of old-school jazz history as well -some easygoing groove, some funk-fusion organ, some jaunty bebop hooks, and always plenty of electricity both literal and not.

Their debut kicks off with a folksy lick suitable for a Jethro Tull album, dressed in electric fusion trappings with guitar and B3 organ gliding in slick Southern blues-rock unison. Next it's a shuffling piece of slinky retro-flavored bop, followed by a catchy alt-rock hook taken into an almost hippie-ish daydream. The band's melting pot has room for any stray idea they find amid these twists and turns. All three are joined at the cerebellum as much as the hip, always on point in jumping from tricky unison to loosely tethered flailing. Wherever they go, all three are happy to prod and play off each other all day long.

Marc Mezgolits Quartett
Mostly Love Songs

However it looks on the surface, this isn't (just) a collection of soft-jazz love songs. Marc Mezgolits does show some heart-on-sleeve romanticism over this recording, sure, and Mostly Love Songs could ably serve as a soundtrack for quiet evenings, romantic dinners and such. At the same time it does that love-song thing in its own ways, though, also living up to the aritst's (and label's) habit of presenting things in slightly unexpected ways.

Without a drummer to follow, the quartet feels out its rubato timing in a way that's natural and dreamy. The dual horns and loping piano sound sweet enough to merit titles like the "Heart Candy" motif that recurs throughout. Mezgolits' love songs wouldn't stoop to going chintzy or pushing obvious buttons; "I Long for You" goes for quiet yearning rather than overt emoting, while a couple rumbly spots like "Fenster" momentarily hint at something troubled (well, love has some stormy moments too). Mezgolits and the quartet are content to portray their theme at an expressive slow burn, unassuming yet always subtly passionate underneath.

Tracks and Personnel

Experience of Life

Tracks: Consequence of Increase; Dirty Harry; Slow Down; Confidence; Treat Me Like a Guinea Pig; Experience of Life; Doesn't Matter; Heartache; Ernst in Haft.

Personnel: Christian Zünd: drums; Pirmin Schädler: organs, Rhodes; Dominik Eberle: guitar.

Mostly Love Songs

Tracks: Heart Candy 1 -Opening; Heart Candy 2 -De.s.cent; I Long for You; Händedruck; Fenster; Heart Candy 3 -Happy Sad; Heart Candy 4 -Too Close for Comfort; Still; Schön Warst Du Da; Zu Weit; What Once Was.

Personnel: Marc Mezgolits: bass guitar; Sebastian von Keler: tenor & soprano saxophone; Marc Roos: trombone; Stephan Plecher: piano.

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