All About Jazz

Home » Articles » CD/LP/Track Review

Dear All About Jazz Readers,

If you're familiar with All About Jazz, you know that we've dedicated over two decades to supporting jazz as an art form, and more importantly, the creative musicians who make it. Our enduring commitment has made All About Jazz one of the most culturally important websites of its kind in the world reaching hundreds of thousands of readers every month. However, to expand our offerings and develop new means to foster jazz discovery we need your help.

You can become a sustaining member for a modest $20 and in return, we'll immediately hide those pesky Google ads PLUS deliver exclusive content and provide access to future articles for a full year! This combination will not only improve your AAJ experience, it will allow us to continue to rigorously build on the great work we first started in 1995. Read on to view our project ideas...

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

Related Articles

Read Freedom Of Speech CD/LP/Track Review
Freedom Of Speech
by Chris May
Published: April 27, 2018
Read Say It CD/LP/Track Review
Say It
by Nicholas F. Mondello
Published: April 27, 2018
Read Absence CD/LP/Track Review
Absence
by Mike Jurkovic
Published: April 27, 2018
Read Permission CD/LP/Track Review
Permission
by Chris Mosey
Published: April 27, 2018
Read The Best of the Grateful Dead Live CD/LP/Track Review
The Best of the Grateful Dead Live
by Doug Collette
Published: April 27, 2018
Read Der Dichter Spricht CD/LP/Track Review
Der Dichter Spricht
by Troy Dostert
Published: April 26, 2018
Read "May I Introduce To You" CD/LP/Track Review May I Introduce To You
by James Nadal
Published: August 23, 2017
Read "Absolutely Live II" CD/LP/Track Review Absolutely Live II
by Chris M. Slawecki
Published: January 4, 2018
Read "The Quest" CD/LP/Track Review The Quest
by Geno Thackara
Published: April 15, 2018
Read "On Another Path" CD/LP/Track Review On Another Path
by Geannine Reid
Published: February 13, 2018
Read "Proverbe" CD/LP/Track Review Proverbe
by Karl Ackermann
Published: June 15, 2017
Read "Live at Ronnie Scott's" CD/LP/Track Review Live at Ronnie Scott's
by Geno Thackara
Published: September 10, 2017