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Matthias Spillmann Trio: Live at the Bird’s Eye Jazz Club

Don Phipps By

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Matthias Spillmann's Live at the Bird's Eye Jazz Club is a trumpet trio tour de force. Recorded live in Basel, Switzerland, Spillmann, bassist Andreas Lang and drummer Moritz Baumgärtner add a fascinating spin to five classics and one original number. The trio's simple format gives Spillmann plenty of room to energize the music, and his tone has a clarity of purpose which shines whether he's slurring notes or simply enunciating long legato phrases.

On the two Ornette Coleman numbers, "Peace" and "Una Muy Bonita," one can be forgiven for hearing the influence of Coleman's extraordinary band-mates Charlie Haden in Lang's earthy tone and Ed Blackwell in Baumgärtner's tom tom drumbeats. "Peace" closes with an upbeat and snappy spin, differentiating it from previous renditions of the bluesy ballad. Spillmann and Lang ride the jagged rhythms of "Una Muy Bonita" with a hot and bouncy gusto, while Baumgärtner's off beats, hot drum thumps, and cymbal clashes fall perfectly around their efforts.

Spillmann's take on Billy Strayhorn's "A Flower Is A Lovesome Thing," serves to bring out a deep beauty, like a painting beneath a painting. And he snaps right into head-nodding hard-bop with Joe Lovano's "Fort Worth," exploring the high register of the horn with bright improvs atop allover drumming and stunning bass articulations. Spillmann's original "Kinderlied #1" is a bluesy abstraction, and highlights the interweaving of trumpet and bass notes. The set ends with a backwoods juke-joint rendition of W.C. Handy's classis "St. Louis Blues."

Diverse, entertaining, with zip and fervor, Live at the Bird's Eye Jazz Club offers a fresh perspective on jazz classics, one that suggests "old wine in new glasses" is to be savored.

Track Listing: Peace; A Flower Is A Lovesome Thing; Fort Worth; Kinderlied #1; Una Muy Bonita; St. Louis Blues.

Personnel: Matthias Spillmann: trumpet, flugelhorn; Andreas Lang: double bass; Moritz Baumgartner: drums.

Title: Live at the Bird’s Eye Jazz Club | Year Released: 2019 | Record Label: Clean Feed Records

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