Learn How

We need your help in 2018

Support All About Jazz All About Jazz is looking for readers to help fund our 2018 projects that directly support jazz. You can make this happen by purchasing ad space or by making a donation to our fund drive. In addition to completing every project (listed here), we'll also hide all Google ads and present exclusive content for a full year!

174

Dagobert Bohm / Markus Reuter / Zoltan Lantos: String Unit

John Kelman By

Sign in to view read count
Billed as Ambient World Jazz, and described as "crimsoid ingenuity seasoned with Oregon and Shakti, it's certainly a good capsule description of this intriguing record by acoustic guitarist Dagobert Böhm, touch guitarist Markus Reuter and violinist Zoltán Lantos. An album of elegant beauty, String Unit might, at one time, have been unceremoniously lumped into the New Age category, a certain kiss of death to many. But despite being easy on the ears, all smooth surfaces and without a single jagged edge, there's a depth to these ten original compositions that suggests accessibility needn't be synonymous with lightweight or insubstantial.

The Shakti reference is evident from the opening notes of "Indiaespara, but without the high velocity approach that's such a fundamental to John McLaughlin's ongoing exploration of the nexus point of East and West. Lantos, who lived and studied in India for eight years, demonstrates a sinewy flexibility on his 5-string violin, maintaining the cultural ambience even when the song evolves into a two-chord vamp that's supported by Böhm and Reuter. But there are elements of European classicism in his playing as well as an unmistakable eastern microtonality

Elsewhere there are folkloric elements of early Oregon, although none of the writers here possess the same harmonic distinction as that group's primary composer, guitarist/pianist Ralph Towner. The writing leans towards compelling lyricism—dark-hued at times, but always attractive—and simpler solo sections that provide everyone the opportunity to stretch, but always with the concept of melody first and foremost in their minds. Still, two takes on Böhm's deceptive "Half a Waltz are largely through-composed miniatures that amble gently and naturally, despite being in an irregular meter.

The equally brief "Interlude finds Lantos drawing a clear line between the East and the lilting approach of Celtic music, with Reuter's ambient guitar loops creating a warm cushion. Reuter's "The Lake is a subtle feature for his touch guitar, a self-accompanying, pianistic 8-string instrument that's tapped rather than plucked (much like King Crimson/Peter Gabriel Alumnus Tony Levin's Chapman Stick) and covers the range from bass through guitar. Böhm's "The Nightbirds provides a good example of the instrument's capabilities, with Reuter's heard solo for the first minute of this piece of soft melancholy.

The trio saves the best for last, however. The collaboratively written "Time, is fifteen minutes of sonically sumptuous audioscapes, expansive and dramatic but in the subtlest of ways. Lantos' violin is thickened with delay, and Böhm's role as producer is front and center as he shapes a lavish landscape throughout, even as the pace picks up for a lengthy solo by Lantos that's largely supported by Reuter's almost minimalist patterns and pulses.

In a world where cultures clash and people increasingly look for ways to compartmentalize their lives, String Unit is a quiet revolution that defies all attempts at classification and ethnic pigeonholing.


Track Listing: Indiaespara; Tau; Circle; Half a Waltz; Interlude; The Lake; The River; Nightbirds; Half a Waltz - Guitars Only; Time.

Personnel: Dagobert B

Title: String Unit | Year Released: 2007 | Record Label: Ozella Music

Tags

comments powered by Disqus

Warning: include(/data/websites/jazznearyou.com/www/html/templates/calendar/cal_related_cached.php): failed to open stream: No such file or directory in /home/websites/allaboutjazz.com/www/html/content/article.php on line 68

Warning: include(): Failed opening '/data/websites/jazznearyou.com/www/html/templates/calendar/cal_related_cached.php' for inclusion (include_path='.:/usr/lib/php5:/data/websites/allaboutjazz.com/www/html:/usr/share/php') in /home/websites/allaboutjazz.com/www/html/content/article.php on line 68

More Articles

Read Flaneur CD/LP/Track Review Flaneur
by Jakob Baekgaard
Published: January 16, 2018
Read D'Agala CD/LP/Track Review D'Agala
by Troy Dostert
Published: January 16, 2018
Read Vertical CD/LP/Track Review Vertical
by Don Phipps
Published: January 16, 2018
Read In Stride CD/LP/Track Review In Stride
by Geno Thackara
Published: January 16, 2018
Read Solid Gold CD/LP/Track Review Solid Gold
by Jack Bowers
Published: January 15, 2018
Read Ts'iibil Chaaltun CD/LP/Track Review Ts'iibil Chaaltun
by Don Phipps
Published: January 15, 2018
Read "No Parking Any Time" CD/LP/Track Review No Parking Any Time
by C. Michael Bailey
Published: February 5, 2017
Read "Steve Lacy’s Saxophone Special Revisited" CD/LP/Track Review Steve Lacy’s Saxophone Special Revisited
by Mark Corroto
Published: September 29, 2017
Read "Easy Living" CD/LP/Track Review Easy Living
by C. Michael Bailey
Published: March 10, 2017
Read "Cochonnerie" CD/LP/Track Review Cochonnerie
by John Sharpe
Published: November 24, 2017
Read "More Than This" CD/LP/Track Review More Than This
by Henning Bolte
Published: February 28, 2017
Read "Instrumental" CD/LP/Track Review Instrumental
by Mark Sullivan
Published: June 10, 2017