Inferring that his Germany-based trio is a multitasking machine would be an understatement. With a fleet of instruments at their disposal, the compositions are largely sinuous, vastly complex, and highly coordinated. The musicians toggle between instruments to alter the pitch, accent the rhythms or whirl through complex unison choruses while adding wit and whimsy into the grand schema. Pianist David Helbock provides one composition, yet the program is fabricated around works by Thelonious Monk and legendary Brazilian composer Hermeto Pascoal.
The trio enacts Pascoal's "Musica das Nuvens e do Chao," like a mini-suite amid shifting reinventions of the principal melody. They kick it off with a surreal approach and dissect the familiar theme into chunks, then open it up with conventional phrasings via soft horns and Helbock's linear block chord progressions. Here, Johannes Bar enlists the bass element with his baritone horn as Andreas Broger's blithe flute lines over the top spawn the customarily cheerful aura of Brazilian music. But the musicians periodically toggle between instruments to generate subtle hues and textures. In a loose sense, they impart a sleight of hand mystique akin to a magician, where semblances of a larger ensemble come to fruition. The group also varies the pulse throughout, as Helbock's lush piano solo ends with a dark and somewhat dour chord. Hence, a rather astonishing trio that is purportedly a dazzling live act.
I love jazz because it's sophisticated, international, atmospheric yet free, cool and warm.
I was first exposed to jazz through the sultry voice and flawless swing of my mother.
I met Mark Murphy, David Linx, Kurt Elling, and Youn Sun Nah.
The best show I ever attended was Youn Sun Nah in Paris.
The first jazz record I bought was Native Dancer by Wayne Shorter and Milton Nascimento
My advice to new listeners: open your mind and your ears, forget about structure, feel the textures.
Go see live music and keep buying CDs!