247

Jurg Wickihalder Overseas Quartet: Furioso

John Sharpe By

Sign in to view read count
Jurg Wickihalder Overseas Quartet: Furioso Irrespective of the connections, the soprano saxophone clarion call opening Furioso immediately evokes the ghost of Steve Lacy. The debut disc from Swiss soprano saxophonist Jurg Wickihalder's Overseas quartet might be better titled Vivacissimo, such is the joy and vitality which springs out from every digital pit and pore.

Though it was at Boston's Berklee College of Music where Wickihalder met the other members of his quartet, it was Lacy who remained a seminal influence from their first meeting when he was 19 years old, as detailed in the liners of his previous release, the delightful A Feeling For Someone (Intakt, 2008). Indeed, the Swiss echoes Lacy not only in his sound, but in his choice of material, with two Thelonious Monk compositions featured alongside eight originals. If this is starting to suggest that Wickihalder is a mere clone, then don't worry, the saxophonist is well on the way to carving out his own turf with a straightforward melodicism tinged with just a little avant attitude in a 45-minute program that, while modern, also harks back to pre-bop days in it's co-option of dance and folk forms.

Wickihalder is abetted by a well-balanced ensemble featuring Italy's Achille Succi (bass clarinet, alto saxophone) and the Toronto-born Zubek brothers, Mark (bass) and Kevin (drums). Succi is gaining a name for himself in increasing sideman credits, with Boston guitarist Garrison Fewell's Variable Density Sound Orchestra (Creative Nation Music, 2009) most recently, while Mark Zubek has toured with Betty Carter and Wynton Marsalis and Kevin Zubek appears on a welter of Tzadik releases, a testament to his activity on the Radical Jewish Culture scene.

"Warm-up Party"'s jaunty two-step finds Wickihalder's soprano goosed by Succi's bass clarinet; the leader's playful solo culminates in a sequence of hoarse duck-like cries, echoed by Succi, that would have brought a smile to the face of his mentor. Elsewhere, the horns intertwine like outcasts from a Dixieland ensemble on the bouncy "The Pocket Trumpet Man" and more edgy jollity of "Surfing And Flying." As with melody, meter is never far away, with the surefooted Zubeks managing switches in style and tempo without fuss.

"Lovers," a waltz imbued with the passion of a tango and written for Wickihalder's own wedding, is reprised from A Feeling For Someone and graced with nimble interplay between alto and soprano where they happily avoid treading on each others toes. On the two Monk pieces, Wickihalder goes for the essential, paring each down to less than three minutes for a spiraling horn rendition of "Four in One," while soprano and bass clarinet extend the deceptively simple theme of "Played Twice," before a thematic bass solo. "Autumn Child," another reprise from his previous release, passes by in a cloud of melancholic beauty sketched by sinuous horns, to close out this charming album on a tender note.

Wickihalder is finding his voice and it will surely be one to listen out for in the future.


Track Listing: Warm-up Party; The Pocket Trumpet Man; Desert Voices; Lovers; Four In One; The Valley; Surfing And Flying; The Moonwalk; Played Twice; Autumn Child.

Personnel: Jurg Wickihalder: soprano and alto saxophones; Achille Succi: bass clarinet, alto sax; Mark Zubek: bass; Kevin Zubek: drums.

Year Released: 2009 | Record Label: Intakt Records | Style: Modern Jazz


Related Video

Shop

More Articles

Read Fellowship CD/LP/Track Review Fellowship
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: February 22, 2017
Read E.S.T. Symphony CD/LP/Track Review E.S.T. Symphony
by Karl Ackermann
Published: February 22, 2017
Read June CD/LP/Track Review June
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: February 22, 2017
Read The Invariant CD/LP/Track Review The Invariant
by Mark Sullivan
Published: February 22, 2017
Read Akua's Dance CD/LP/Track Review Akua's Dance
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: February 21, 2017
Read Daylight Ghosts CD/LP/Track Review Daylight Ghosts
by Mark Sullivan
Published: February 21, 2017
Read "HUJE 2015" CD/LP/Track Review HUJE 2015
by Jack Bowers
Published: May 2, 2016
Read "Subterranea" CD/LP/Track Review Subterranea
by Roger Farbey
Published: October 28, 2016
Read "Short Stories" CD/LP/Track Review Short Stories
by C. Michael Bailey
Published: November 3, 2016
Read "Sélébéyone" CD/LP/Track Review Sélébéyone
by Mark Corroto
Published: August 6, 2016
Read "Man Made Object" CD/LP/Track Review Man Made Object
by Geno Thackara
Published: April 10, 2016
Read "Got A Mind to Give Up Living: Live 1966" CD/LP/Track Review Got A Mind to Give Up Living: Live 1966
by Doug Collette
Published: June 11, 2016

Post a comment

comments powered by Disqus

Sponsor: ECM Records | BUY NOW  

Support our sponsor

Support All About Jazz's Future

We need your help and we have a deal. Contribute $20 and we'll hide the six Google ads that appear on every page for a full year!

Buy it!