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 was first exposed to jazz as a baby. When I was a child, my parents regularly played classic jazz, i.e., Fitzgerald, Hawkins, Holiday, Davis, Coltrane, Monk, Montgomery, Silver, etc. I vividly remember sitting in front of the stereo as a kid, rocking back and forth to jazz, so the music is embedded in me
I was first exposed to jazz as a baby. When I was a child, my parents regularly played classic jazz, i.e., Fitzgerald, Hawkins, Holiday, Davis, Coltrane, Monk, Montgomery, Silver, etc. I vividly remember sitting in front of the stereo as a kid, rocking back and forth to jazz, so the music is embedded in me. As a life-long jazz lover, I eventually became a jazz educator and producer/host of a very popular jazz radio program in Los Angeles, California.
I love jazz because it is so free. I can think, feel, and dream to jazz, and it allows my mind to flow and expand, musically and otherwise. I also love jazz because it, much like other forms of music, allows opportunities to bring people from all walks of life together. What makes jazz more significant to me, though, is its historical significance; that is, how jazz served, in part, as a method of bringing communities together, a cultural/social/spiritual conduit.