It has been twenty years since Die Enttäuschung recorded the music of Thelonious Monk, but Monk continues to be an essential component of their music making. This is also the case with Steve Lacy and Roswell Rudd's music after their Monk cover band School Days (Emanem, 1975) disbanded. The concepts of Monk's music were integral in their sound thereafter.
Lavaman is the ensemble's sixth release (seventh, if you count the impossible to locate eponymous 1996 LP debut on Two Nineteen Records), and follows Vier Halbe (Intakt, 2012). The band can also be heard on the most excellent Monk's Casino with pianist Alexander von Schlippenbach, another musician inspired by Monk. This iteration of the band with Rudi Mahall (bass clarinet, clarinet), Axel Dörner (trumpet), Jan Roder (bass), and Michael Griener (drums) grows from a quartet to a quintet with the inclusion of Christof Thewes. The trombonist is also a member of Uwe Oberg's Lacy Pool, making the Monk thread even stronger.
The sixteen tracks here are all originals and only two, "Die Wohlgesonnten" and "Voraussichtlich," are greater than five minutes in length. Within these brief pieces is the push-and-pull between the avant-garde and tradition. Th effect is not schizophrenic, but it acknowledges that swing, even Dixieland, was once ahead of its time. Dörner, Mahall, and Thewes overlay unconventional and extended instrument techniques onto more traditional song structures, in effect slipping the listener a musical Mickey Finn.
Wer nichts fürth, fürth Fürth; Fälschlich; Die Wohlgesonnten; Voraussichtlich;
Christian und Isolde; Das Jan im Stück; Ausgekannt; Jazz als Hobby;
Lavaman; Reich durch Pfand; Chicoree; Unsäglich; Reich durch Jazz; Bulyah-
Dath; So tun als ob; Das Jan am Stück.
Rudi Mahall: bass clarinet, clarinet; Axel Dörner: trumpet; Christof Thewes:
trombone; Jan Roder: bass; Michael Griener: drums.