162

Franz Koglmann: Make Believe

Glenn Astarita By

Sign in to view read count
A newly launched jazz label based out of Frankfurt, Germany Between The Lines offers the astute jazz public yet another glimpse of this ever-evolving musical art form. Led by famed composer/trumpeter/flugelhornist Franz Koglmann, Make Believe is one of three inaugural releases for the upstart label, while Koglmann also serves as artistic director for this and other Between The Lines releases. What an interesting lineup indeed as Koglmann, who performs on trumpet and flugelhorn, utilizes the laudable talents of legendary British reedman, Tony Coe, french hornist Tom Varner, guitarist Brad Shepik and Austrian bassist Peter Herbert. Make Believe comprises six musical scenes based on Jean Cocteau's novel, Les Enfants Terribles. As the title track, Jerome Kern's "Make Believe" might seemingly allude to an unorthodox blend, given the true nature of the material and overall concept.

Based upon Jean Cocteau's time honored novel, the band invokes surreal imagery through interesting interplay supplemented by a curiously distinctive group sound. Again, Koglmann employs a drummer-less band, and true to form the absence of drums or percussion enables the ensemble to explore sharp angles and circuitous routes as the fine bassist Peter Herbert should be commended for his exemplary rhythmic support. The title track serves as an appropriate opener, whereas the psychoanalytical nature of Cocteaus work coupled with an affinity for opium perhaps establishes some sort of aura or guideline for the music presented here and throughout. Here, Koglmann establishes the main theme while directing the band into a mid-tempo swing as bass clarinetist Coe pursues deeply resonant lines that coalesce with the low range tonalities provided by Varner and Herbert. A heavy bottom prevails as Shepik's sharp-edged electric guitar performances provide a startling contrast while vibrant group interplay takes precedence in somewhat of a frolicsome manner. Koglmann's "L ecrevisse" might mirror Cocteau's surrealistic sensibilities as Shepik turns in some nifty slide guitar lines, alternating chop chords and harmonics which nicely counters Coe's weaving clarinet phraseology while Varner and Koglmann spurt brief jagged lines that seemingly transcend the music to a higher level. On Koglmann's "Interlude" Coe picks up his tenor sax as the band secures a moderate swing tempo atop Herbert's dexterously soft walking bass lines which hints at a brief shift in strategy while the horn section stirs up memorably melodic themes and mildly conversational dialogue. Whereas "Rue Montmarte" features a motif that could be straight out of a 1950s Hollywood-style black & white detective movie, as Herbert and Shepik execute lines that might suggest surf music or the theme to the 1960s TV show, Peter Gunn. Again, the proceedings eventually heat up as the whimsical rhythms give way to serious-minded albeit, furious group dialogue.

Essentially, Make Believe is something akin to an impressionist painting or work of art that pays dutiful homage to Jean Cocteau—the motivating and inspirational force behind this commissioned project. Overall, the music transcends ordinary words as movement, colorful patterns, expressive dialogue and a sense of hearty spirit looms over the top like some unimaginable aura. Basically, the music is that powerful! Strongly recommended!.......* * * * *

Personnel: Franz Koglmann; Trumpet, Flugelhorn: Tony Coe; Clarinet, Bass Clarinet, Tenor Sax: Tom Varner; French Horn: Brad Shepik; Guitar: Peter Herbert; Bass.

| Record Label: Between the Lines | Style: Modern Jazz


Shop

More Articles

Read Fellowship CD/LP/Track Review Fellowship
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: February 22, 2017
Read E.S.T. Symphony CD/LP/Track Review E.S.T. Symphony
by Karl Ackermann
Published: February 22, 2017
Read June CD/LP/Track Review June
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: February 22, 2017
Read The Invariant CD/LP/Track Review The Invariant
by Mark Sullivan
Published: February 22, 2017
Read Akua's Dance CD/LP/Track Review Akua's Dance
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: February 21, 2017
Read Daylight Ghosts CD/LP/Track Review Daylight Ghosts
by Mark Sullivan
Published: February 21, 2017
Read "Collective Effervescence" CD/LP/Track Review Collective Effervescence
by Glenn Astarita
Published: March 24, 2016
Read "Jim Crow's Tears" CD/LP/Track Review Jim Crow's Tears
by James Nadal
Published: November 10, 2016
Read "Cornua Copiae" CD/LP/Track Review Cornua Copiae
by John Sharpe
Published: December 15, 2016
Read "Dick's Picks Volume Two: Columbus, Ohio 10/31/1971" CD/LP/Track Review Dick's Picks Volume Two: Columbus, Ohio 10/31/1971
by Doug Collette
Published: February 27, 2016
Read "District 6" CD/LP/Track Review District 6
by Geno Thackara
Published: April 12, 2016
Read "Eastern Smiles" CD/LP/Track Review Eastern Smiles
by Ian Patterson
Published: August 21, 2016

Post a comment

comments powered by Disqus

Sponsor: ECM Records | BUY NOW  

Support our sponsor

Support All About Jazz's Future

We need your help and we have a deal. Contribute $20 and we'll hide the six Google ads that appear on every page for a full year!

Buy it!