152

Vertigo Quintet: Vertigo Quintet

Budd Kopman By

Sign in to view read count
One of the joys of reviewing is to receive a disc by a totally unknown group and have it just sweep you away. The music of the Vertigo Quintet is at once engrossing and unpredictable, yet its architectural features have such solidity and grandeur as to wash away any uncertainty.

In mentioning the influences of the group members, the Amplion website lists classical composers such as Debussy and Scriabin, as well as jazz musicians such as Ornette and Monk. The initials ECM come up as a way to describe the overall sound, but that just begs the question as to what the "ECM sound, or better, the ECM ethos, is. Certainly, the classical influence is obvious, and the music also does not swing in any overt way, yet I almost always felt a pulse, fed many times by the bass rather than the drums.

The architectural feel mentioned above is another feature that pushes the music into the ECM realm, and here the band really shines; the movement from section to section is handled so securely that everything feels organic and the music breathes as it ebbs and flows. There are few solos as such, but rather one of the players rising out of the band sound to emphasize a particular theme or motive, and hence the feeling of true group improvisation is emphasized. Drama and tension/release are present in abundance, rendering conventions of time meaningless.

The band has a carefully crafted sound. Vojtech Prochazka's piano many times reaches down to the depths, and he rarely ventures out of the midrange. His chords can be thick, sounding simple and not obviously altered, and yet float. Marcel Barta and Oskar Torok, on reeds and trumpet respectively, have two of the purest sounds I have ever heard, allowing them to mix colors rather than timbres. Many times they play in unison, creating a different instrument entirely, but they also split into harmony with either the soprano sax or trumpet on top, and then weave around each other; all of this is surrounded by a wash of piano. Stanko and Stenson are evoked (as on "Poslepu") but not copied, and I found the band's sound unique and refreshing.

Intense, introspective, brooding, joyous, very European, yet totally jazz, Vertigo Quintet scored a direct hit with me. As Lucie Kuklova, the contact at Amplion, said to me, "I am very happy for Vertigo Quintet and I would love to help them on their way into the world, because there are no higher opportunities in Czech area then to release a CD and play in clubs, and the boys are definitely above this! I must wholeheartedly agree, and if there is a jazz god, this band will be making a tremendous splash.

Track Listing: Rozpravka (7:56), Really sorry (8:12), Tichy dum (7:27), Exhibionista (7:06), Elga (5:12), Dozvuk 1 (4:44), Dalasi (9:18), Predtucha (7:49), Poslepu (8:39), Dozvuk 2 [coda] (1:48)

Personnel: Marcel Barta - soprano saxophone, bass clarinet; Daniel Soltis - drums; Ratislav Uhrik - acoustic bass; Oskar Torok - trumpet; Vojtech Prochazka - piano

Title: Vertigo Quintet | Year Released: 2005 | Record Label: Amplion


Tags

comments powered by Disqus

More Articles

Read Alto Gusto CD/LP/Track Review Alto Gusto
by Jack Bowers
Published: November 20, 2017
Read Flow CD/LP/Track Review Flow
by Jakob Baekgaard
Published: November 20, 2017
Read Originals For the Originals CD/LP/Track Review Originals For the Originals
by Paul Rauch
Published: November 20, 2017
Read Killing Bugs CD/LP/Track Review Killing Bugs
by Kevin Press
Published: November 20, 2017
Read The Way of It CD/LP/Track Review The Way of It
by Jack Bowers
Published: November 19, 2017
Read Tag Book CD/LP/Track Review Tag Book
by Jakob Baekgaard
Published: November 19, 2017
Read "Storm" CD/LP/Track Review Storm
by Jim Olin
Published: September 17, 2017
Read "Sing House" CD/LP/Track Review Sing House
by Karl Ackermann
Published: July 30, 2017
Read "Reunion" CD/LP/Track Review Reunion
by John Sharpe
Published: March 31, 2017
Read "Songbook Volume 1" CD/LP/Track Review Songbook Volume 1
by Jim Olin
Published: October 12, 2017
Read "Two Of A Kind" CD/LP/Track Review Two Of A Kind
by Ian Patterson
Published: December 30, 2016
Read "Bandit 65" CD/LP/Track Review Bandit 65
by Geno Thackara
Published: March 13, 2017

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!

Please support out sponsor