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If one overwhelming quality leaps out of the music of Florian Ross, it is his skill as a composer. He has a finely attuned sense for narrative and his pieces are rich in harmonic detail. Most of his music flows with a calm resplendence, yet he can pump up the pulse and get into a harder groove without losing the emotive essence.
Ross also has a gift for orchestrated arrangements. His ensemble lines are lush and seamless, filled with a shimmering grace. But even as these lend the romanticism to several of the pieces, he can go off that line and come in at a tangent, as he does with "Dr. Gradus. The members of his quintet converge from different angles, navigating their own little paths, before Matthias Erlewein comes in with some short, quick jabs on the tenor and Claus Stötter glides in on the flugelhorn and moves the bop drive from shadow to object.
The skein of "Like Like Like is of a different colour. Ross explores the nuances of the tune, and as he gets deeper into the pattern, he takes it away from the instincts of chamber music and turns it into a more absorbing ballad. There is a two-toned approach when "Arts & Chemistry get together. The trumpet, once going on a straight path, juts up and breaks into short convulsions; the tenor sax breathes a hard gnawing line; and the piano dances on an array of happy notes. There is no stasis, just a constant movement that provides an enthralling shift in its short but compulsive journey.
Ross and the band make this well worth tuning in to.
Track Listing: Dr. Gradus; Pretty Thing; 5 Freunde; Strange but True; Richard Called; Tiger Holiday; Platypus; Pretty Thing Postlude; Hal; Like Like Like; Arts & Chemistry; Lanugo; Sunshower; 4W; Short Visit