Make a difference: Support jazz online

Support All About Jazz Your friends at All About Jazz are looking for readers to help back our website upgrade project. Of critical importance, this project will result in a vastly improved design across all devices and will make future All About Jazz projects much easier to implement. Click here to learn more about this project including donation rewards.

454

Boom Box: Jazz

John Eyles By

Sign in to view read count
Surprises can come in the most unlikely guises and under the least likely names. Jazz is the latest example of that old maxim to never judge a book by its cover. The combination of the group name Boom Box—conjuring up images of hip-hop and oversized ghetto blasters—and a graphic style reminiscent of Peter Brötzmann albums does nothing to hint at the subtle delights to be found within. Fortunately, the album title itself is well chosen, acting as a counterweight to those misleading clues, and its honest simplicity fits the music.

Boom Box is the trio of saxophonist Thomas Borgmann, bassist Akira Ando and drummer Willi Kellers. All three are experienced players, each with an impressive list of past collaborators (in the case of Borgmann and Kellers, including Brötzmann) and they carry forward the exploratory spirit of those people in this music. Jazz is the trio's first album together, studio-recorded in Berlin over two days in June 2010. Of the six tracks, each member of the trio is credited with two, but Borgmann says that all of the music was played totally free over two long sessions, so the music was actually composed by all three of them.

In line with the album title, the music is unquestionably jazz. Although obviously rooted in free jazz, it is surprisingly replete with qualities that some may not associate with that description, such as swing, restraint, delicacy. There is no screaming—or booming—here. On an album where every track is peerless, the standout has to be "Albert and Frank"; its title acknowledging pioneers Albert Ayler and Frank Wright. Its opening quotes Ayler's "Ghosts," before the three take off on their own free-flowing hommage. At close to fourteen minutes—and in keeping with the album's other extended tracks—the piece demonstrates that the longer this trio plays the better it sounds. There is never any sense of running short of ideas or falling back on stock phrases; everything sounds freshly minted.

Borgmann seemingly has the ability to endlessly spin out solo lines that are melodically and rhythmically inventive, making the process sound as simple as breathing. He switches between tenor, soprano and sopranino with ease, using them in a painterly fashion for their different tonal qualities, as required; on the closer, "Only for Dörte," he even briefly uses two harmonica chords to good effect. His rhythmic sense helps give the trio its swing; it always feels as if all three players are creating it equally, without any sense of them being soloist plus rhythm section.

It is fitting that three track titles refer to birds and flight (and the cover graphic is of birds in flight); throughout, the music has the unfettered playfulness of birdsong and the gravity-defying lightness of gliding. All three players contribute equally to that; for much of the album they play simultaneously, displaying an easy-going compatibility, fitting together like the pieces of a jigsaw.

Jazz is the best surprise of the year so far, and a favorite that's sure to be one of the best albums of 2011.

Track Listing: Little Birds May Fly; How Far Can You Fly?; Hey Little Bird; And To Where?; Albert & Frank; Only for Dörte.

Personnel: Thomas Borgmann: tenor, soprano amd sopranino saxophones, harmonica; Akira Ando: double-bass; Willi Kellers: drums.

Title: Jazz | Year Released: 2011 | Record Label: Jazzwerkstatt Berlin-brandenburg E.v.

Tags

Related Video

comments powered by Disqus

More Articles

Read Lux CD/LP/Track Review Lux
by Karl Ackermann
Published: January 20, 2018
Read Unleashed CD/LP/Track Review Unleashed
by John Sharpe
Published: January 20, 2018
Read I Think I'm Going To Eat Dessert CD/LP/Track Review I Think I'm Going To Eat Dessert
by Jerome Wilson
Published: January 20, 2018
Read 20 CD/LP/Track Review 20
by Ian Patterson
Published: January 20, 2018
Read Roppongi CD/LP/Track Review Roppongi
by Mark Sullivan
Published: January 19, 2018
Read Is Life Long? CD/LP/Track Review Is Life Long?
by Mark Corroto
Published: January 19, 2018
Read "Honey And Salt" CD/LP/Track Review Honey And Salt
by Mark Corroto
Published: August 22, 2017
Read "Jazz Flute Traditions" CD/LP/Track Review Jazz Flute Traditions
by Roger Farbey
Published: September 21, 2017
Read "The Vampires Meet Lionel Loueke" CD/LP/Track Review The Vampires Meet Lionel Loueke
by Friedrich Kunzmann
Published: December 26, 2017
Read "The Spirit Of Piteşti" CD/LP/Track Review The Spirit Of Piteşti
by John Sharpe
Published: October 25, 2017
Read "Sooner And Later" CD/LP/Track Review Sooner And Later
by Karl Ackermann
Published: March 4, 2017
Read "Long Time Gone/To Beat Or Not To Beat" CD/LP/Track Review Long Time Gone/To Beat Or Not To Beat
by Doug Collette
Published: January 6, 2018