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Robert Bachner Big Band: Moments of Noise

Jack Bowers By

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As the title suggests, there are Moments of Noise on Austrian trombonist Robert Bachner's debut album as leader of his own big band, but they are always purposeful, never arbitrary, and are staunchly tempered by moments of beauty, awareness and sensitivity. And as noise is one of the requisite components of any big band, neither are they ever unsuitable. To the contrary, Bachner, a talented composer and arranger, makes certain that whatever "noise his ensemble produces is an integral part of a more aesthetically rewarding musical landscape.

Indeed, the theme from which the album takes its name, written as a quintet piece in 1994 as a part of Bachner's graduation exam at the Bruckner Konservatorium in Linz, is powerful but never strident, an explosive modal chart reminiscent of Coltrane's "Moment's Notice with a swinging middle section more akin to Basie than Mingus or Gil Evans, encompassing robust solos by pianist Robert Schönherr and soprano saxophonist Christian Maurer. Bachner's other arrangements are equally engaging, as are those by Martin Reiter ("Heart Disc ) and Helmar Hill ("One More Time ). The more familiar among them are Jerome Kern's "The Way You Look Tonight —an outstanding chart featuring thermal solos by Bachner and baritone Thomas Kugi—and John Lewis' melodious "Afternoon in Paris, impressively enlivened by trumpeter Daniel Nösig and alto Gerald Preinfalk.

The fast-moving "Heart Disc showcases Preinfalk on alto with Nösig, while "One More Time, an irrepressible groover, embodies persuasive solos by tenor Ilse Riedler, trombonist Martin Ptak and trumpeter Jörg Engels. Tenor Christian Maurer and alto Andreas See are front and center on Bachner's luminous "Movement Two, Bachner and guitarist Adrian Reiter on the lone ballad, the charming albeit oddly named "Brasstime (written for an Austrian group called Pro Brass). The album's "bonus track, Al Dubin/Harry Warren's venerable "Lullaby of Broadway, is also its only vocal, nicely sung by Karin Bachner. The rhythm section (Schönherr, Reiter, bassist Gina Schwarz, drummer Klemens Marktl) is presistently sharp and enthusiastic.

Even in Austria, it would seem, big band jazz is alive and well. Bachner, who never thought he'd be leading a band, has assembled a world-class ensemble, and his compositions and arrangements are as admirable as any you're likely to hear. This superb debut fairly shouts for an encore.


Track Listing: As the title suggests, there are Moments of Noise on Austrian trombonist Robert Bachner

Personnel: Robert Bachner: leader, trombone; Aneel Soomary, J

Title: Moments of Noise | Year Released: 2007 | Record Label: ATS Records


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