When a trio of young Swiss jazz musicians visited New York in 2011, they weren't content just to follow the tourist trail or soak up the atmosphere in the Big Apple clubs. Before they left the city, saxophonist Christoph Irniger, guitarist Dave Gisler, and bassist Raffaele Bossard joined forces with drummer Nasheet Waits to record an album. The result is the debut of No Reduce, with its atmospheric set of original tunes, Jaywalkin'.
The tunes were all inspired by the Swiss trio's New York staythe title tune is a reflection of its surprise at New Yorkers' apparent disregard for personal road safety. Waits is the only group member who doesn't get a composer credit, but his confident, inventive percussion is key to the music's feel. His partnership with Bossard is never too showy, never too complicated.
Irniger's "Endangered" is, as the title suggests, a rather dark and threatening tune-Gisler's guitar and Waits' percussion create and maintain the tension. "The Slope," Irniger's other composition, finds Gisler and Waits letting rip with metal-esque drum and guitar before it returns to the slower pace and darker mood of its predecessor. Bossard's "Faraway... But Close Enough" is also notable for the way it builds tension. Gisler and Waits again take the leading role before Irniger's tenor sax dominates.
There are lighter moments, such as Gisler's gentle "Playground" and Bossard's "Morningside Road," a tribute to his temporary New York home. The most playful of all is Gisler's "The Mouse." This might be expected to be a skittering, darting tune in homage to the busy and active rodent but it's closer to a slow, swampy blues-this is a mouse with a belly full of cheese.
Jaywalkin' is an impressive first album: a tribute to the effect New York has on three young Europeans who form No Reduce, and to the effect Waits has on the music's strength and creativity of the band as a unit.
Endangered; The Slope; Playground; Faraway... But Close Enough; Dope Factory; Jaywalkin'; Morningside Road; The Mouse.
Christoph Irniger: tenor saxophone; Dave Gisler: guitar; Raffaele Bossard: bass: Nasheet Waits: drums.