Ralph Reichert Quartet with Randy Sandke: Reflections

John Kelman By

Sign in to view read count
Ralph Reichert Quartet with Randy Sandke: Reflections Mainstream albums that continue to interpret and reinterpret the Great American Songbook have to be assessed with a different set of criteria than more overtly contemporary forms of the idiom. They rarely break any new ground, and the players, while often highly capable, or not necessarily what one would call adventurous. Still, there's a lot to be said for a well-organized, well-executed set of mainstream jazz, and tenor saxophonist Ralph Reichert and his quartet, on the live set Reflections , clearly have it. Energetic and swinging at times, tender and heartfelt at others, Reichert and the group are filled with a positive energy and the songs literally jump out of the speakers. This may not be trend-setting music, but it is clearly compelling stuff, and makes as good an argument as any that the mainstream can still be vibrant and exciting.

Guest trumpeter Randy Sandke has an interesting history that saw him turn down an opportunity to play with Janis Joplin because of a hernia in his throat, a condition which, while ultimately cured, caused him to eschew the trumpet and work as a guitarist for most of the '70s. He returned to the trumpet again in the '80s, working with artists including Vince Giardino, Bob Wilbur and, most notably, Benny Goodman's last band in the mid-'80s, which established him as a fine player in the swing tradition. He possesses a sharp tone, and a direct and economical style.

Drummer Wolff Reichert demonstrates a sense of time, conciseness and flair that comes from one of his main influences, Steve Gadd. Pianist Buggy Braune is a comfortable accompanist, and a soloist who brings together traditions as diverse as Oscar Peterson and Bill Evans. Bassist Andreas Henze may have a background in classical music, but here he swings hard, contributing a number of well thought-out solos. And Ralph Reichert is a melodic player with a sense of the dramatic that comes from the Joe Lovano school; this comes as no surprise as he also works with guitarist Hendrik Meyer, exploring and expanding on the work done by Lovano with John Scofield.

The set list may be conventional, with the band working their way through well-heeled tunes including "Darn That Dream," "It Might As Well Be Spring" and "What Is This Thing Called Love," and giving a more straightforward and less idiosyncratic reading of Monk's "Reflections," but the set is wonderfully paced, generating energy at just the right time, while knowing exactly when to slow down the pace and let the audience breathe. Without a doubt the Birdland Jazzclub in Hamburg must have been an extremely fun place to be on March 8, 2002, when this set was recorded. What Reflections lacks in creative originality it more than makes up for in sheer engagement, playfulness and fun. And in this case that's absolutely more than enough.

Track Listing: Just in Time; My Ideal; Reflections; Darn That Dream; Bernie's Tune; Nancy With the Laughing Face; It Might As Well Be Spring; What Is This Thing Called Love

Personnel: Ralph Reichert (tenor saxophone), Buggy Braune (piano), Andreas Henze (bass), Wolff Reichert (drums)
With special guest Randy Sandke (trumpet)

Year Released: 2004 | Record Label: Nagel Heyer Records | Style: Straight-ahead/Mainstream


More Articles

Read Over the Rainbow CD/LP/Track Review Over the Rainbow
by Paul Rauch
Published: February 24, 2017
Read Before The Silence CD/LP/Track Review Before The Silence
by John Sharpe
Published: February 24, 2017
Read Masters Legacy Series, Volume 1 CD/LP/Track Review Masters Legacy Series, Volume 1
by Edward Blanco
Published: February 24, 2017
Read Backlog CD/LP/Track Review Backlog
by Mark F. Turner
Published: February 24, 2017
Read Process And Reality CD/LP/Track Review Process And Reality
by Mark Corroto
Published: February 24, 2017
Read The Picasso Zone CD/LP/Track Review The Picasso Zone
by Franz A. Matzner
Published: February 23, 2017
Read "Start to Move" CD/LP/Track Review Start to Move
by Rokas Kucinskas
Published: September 20, 2016
Read "Reliquia" CD/LP/Track Review Reliquia
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: June 30, 2016
Read "Fierce Silence" CD/LP/Track Review Fierce Silence
by Mark Corroto
Published: August 4, 2016
Read "Texas Times" CD/LP/Track Review Texas Times
by Jack Bowers
Published: April 14, 2016
Read "Flux" CD/LP/Track Review Flux
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: August 18, 2016
Read "Romance 76" CD/LP/Track Review Romance 76
by Glenn Astarita
Published: October 11, 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!