Some music frustrates stylistic pigeonholing. Max Nagl's is not that kind, but just the opposite, flitting from style to style with such facility and straight-faced fidelity that, in the end, it almost eludes categorization by simultaneously hugging several categories nearly to death. A steady gaze, however, makes no error: this is jazz.
One of the most striking contrasts between European jazzers and their American counterparts is the former's ability to embrace unflinchingly seemingly outdated styles with gusto, while the latter seems to be always on the hunt for the new. Another contrast is the Europeans' refreshing humor, as opposed to the almost grim seriousness on our side of the pond. These Continental swingers seem to say, as they play the heck out of the stuff, that it's not so serious really, it's just music. Have a good time! And we do, but there's more to it than just fun.
Max Nagl Ensemble
Quartier Du Faisan
On Quartier Du Faisan, Nagl's international, talent-loaded tentet jumps from edgy new jazz ideas to cheesy big band swing to organ soul jazzand morewith ease and great skill. The paradox, one that Europeans regularly pull off, is that the resulting music has a jokey, joshing around quality and a solid bottom of dead-serious dedication to craft at oncea feat rarely seen on this side of the pond. The music is enjoyable and, though mostly derivative, it borrows with wit and charm.
Max Nagl/Otto Lechner/Bradley Jones
Flamingos has three things in common with Quartier Du Faisan: Max Nagl, two tunesa fierce tango, "Bowling, and a black little cabaret ditty, "Bat Chain and those single-bound, style-jumping superpowers. But with no drums, this keyboard/sax/bass recording is intimate even as it burns through Nagl's impishly accomplished material, plus a triumvirate of Mingus tunes. Anyone who doubts that Mingus' demonically groovy "Haitian Fight Song can be convincingly pulled off with just accordion, bass and sax should listen to Flamingos and prepare to stand corrected.
Tracks and Personnel
Quartier Du Faisan
Tracks: Beduinenwalzer; Bycykell; Dunkelziffer; Bat Chain; Patient; Breakstone; Variations II; Luis; Bowling; Falarm - Delirium Clemens.
Personnel: Max Nagl: alto sax, melodica; Clemens Salesny: alto sax, bass clarinet; Franz Hautzinger: quarter tone trumptet; Lorenz Raab: trumpet; Martin Ptak: trombone; Clemens Wenger: piano; Josef Novotny: electronics, piano; Achim Tang: double bass; Lukas Knofler: drums; Luis Ribeiro: percussion.
Tracks: Bowling; Pills; Cigar; Essig; Weird Nightmare; Bad Hotel; Frolic; Flamingo; Work Song/Haitian Fight Song; Bat Chain.
Personnel: Max Nagl: alto, baritone & soprano sax; Otto Leicher: accordion, piano & voice; Bradley Jones: bass.