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Venerable German trombonist Nils Wogram and his long-running Root 70 ensemble are known for cagey and divergent progressive jazz excursions. On Riomar he summons a three-piece strings section to integrate within the standard modern jazz format line of attack, as opposed to simply providing embellishments. One of many highlights is framed on alto saxophonist Hayden Chisholm's fluid notes and wistful tone. He projects a Paul Desmond-like West Coast "cool jazz" attribute, morphed with silky Charlie Parker-ish flurries. Moreover, Wogram leads the ensemble through a sequence of feisty dialogues, in tandem with a strategic approach, partly devised on piercing choruses and snappy unison runs.
Wogram and associates abide by a buoyant methodology. The undulating effects shine on "Vacation Without Internet," that opens with an avant-garde spin on customary chamber fare as the rhythm section builds up steam in the background. The musicians kick it in with a cool, Third Stream oeuvre via nimble swing grooves and peppery strings statements. Interestingly enough, the strings performers work under the auspices of a bold and brassy horns section, spinning a little big band presence. Here, Chisholm's bop-like lines generate an old-school sense of antiquity. No doubt, the ensemble covers a lot of ground. Just when you think they've attained a comfort zone, they toss a few unanticipated curveballs into the mix with capricious arrangements and off-kilter detours.
Personnel: Nils Wogram: trombone; Hayden Chisolm: alto saxophone; Matt Penman:
bass; Jochen Rueckert: drums; Gerdur Gunnarsdottir: violin; Gareth
Lubbe: viola; Adrian Brendel: cello.
Years ago now--in Rhodesia--listening to Voice of America with Willis Conover I heard Bunk Johnson play When The Saints Go Marching In, and Billie Holiday sing Don't Explain. I knew then there was no other life for me than jazz.