While it might seem that there is a production line for outfits hailing from Scandinavia, Mount Meander demonstrates that the output is far from standardised. Comprising two Germans in pianist Lucas Leidinger and drummer Thomas Sauerborn, along with the Copenhagen-based pair of Latvian saxophonist Karlis Auzins and Polish bassist Tomo Jacobson, the collective quartet shares a common language in spite of their diverse origins. Although all relatively young, their credits already encompass John Tchicai, Lotte Anker, Mat Maneri and Frank Gratkowski. That gives an idea of their reach during a spontaneously birthed program of nine pieces which nonetheless fits well within the modern mainstream.
All show themselves to be proficient improvisers. Saxophonist Auzins displays a folky lyricism, often hewing close to tonal centers, although that's leavened by his muffled tones and sudden yodelling blurts on the choppy "Motoric Animal." On piano Leidinger uses preparations to emphasise the percussive nature of the instrument, particularly evident on "Politeness Is God." Elsewhere his probing lines blur the distinction between comping and counterpoint. Drummer Sauerborn proves adept at minimalist tappy dialogue and blends well with the spare but inventive Jacobson on bass, notably on their propulsive introduction to the spiky "Swung."
"Sunsail," which constitutes the first three tracks, forms a continuous performance which goes beyond the Coltrane echoes of the title to also touch on Ornette Coleman (Auzins sounds as if he is paraphrasing "Lonely Woman" during "part 1") and Keith Jarrett (occasioned by a stomping piano vamp on "part 3"). Unhurried conversational interchange dominates the determinedly egalitarian session, nowhere more so than during the introverted pastoral "A Bird In The Hand...." They range widely, ending the album with the doomy drones of "Bow," and while such breadth means there is no danger of becoming typecast, hopefully there will be some more in depth explorations too in the future.
Track Listing: Sunsail part #1; Sunsail part #2; Sunsail part #3; Politeness Is God; Thrill; Motoric Animal; A Bird In The Hand...; Swung; Bow.
Personnel: Karlis Auzins: tenor & soprano saxophone; Lucas Leidinger: piano; Tomo Jacobson: double-bass; Thomas Sauerborn: drums.
Jazz and the blues--because together this musical brother and sister speak from our nation's days of the current cultural affairs and the authenticity and truth of a place where the rhythms held the pulse and the drums the heartbeat, representing every step closer the meat on the bone
Jazz and the blues--because together this musical brother and sister speak from our nation's days of the current cultural affairs and the authenticity and truth of a place where the rhythms held the pulse and the drums the heartbeat, representing every step closer the meat on the bone. Feet in the dirt, or barefoot on a stage with sequins--it's soul beats in my chest.
I was first exposed to jazz while others listened to surf music in the '50s and '60s, it was Monk, Miles, Satchmo and Ella, Rosemary Clooney and Julie London followed. Margaret Whiting, Les McCann, Willie Bobo, Andy Simpkins, Snooky Young, Bill Basie and Helen Humes. The first time I heard Topsy, Take 2, I about passed out at the age of ten.
I've hung with Les McCann who more than 30 years after our first meeting became my duet partner on my CD, Don't Go To Strangers. Karen Hernandez from the start, Jack Le Compte on drums, Lou Shoch on bass, Steve Rawlins as my arranger and pianist, Grant Geissman - guitar genius, Nolan Shaheed, Richard Simon, and more. The big boys. My Red Hot Papas. The best show I ever attended was...
I met Helen Humes first back in 1981 and helped turn one Playboy Jazz Festival night into her tribute, bring the Basie Band to stage, her joy boys. Before she took the stage for the last time to sing, If I could Be With You One Hour Tonight thousands of copies of the newspaper I wrote for carried her story. It was kismet, her being held by Joe Williams backstage. Soon in my life were the great Linda Hopkins who told me I sang the song she wrote better than her, which floored me of course, the energizing Barbara Morrison and the stellar Marilyn Maye who guided me professionally.
My advice to new listeners... let your backbone slip and feel your body stripping back the barriers that prevent us from being one with the music.
Remember none of us are strangers, we just haven't met yet.