Die Verwandlung means Transformation and in fact suits the music perfectly in this recording led by trumpeter Frederik Köster, who also composed all the music on the disc. All gentlemen are in their middle 30’s(-ish). All of them also are well regarded and recognizable figures on the European Jazz firmament. Not to mention having significant artistic approach, both well documented and rewarded. Some even reviewed on these pages.
Here they come with the project which is going to bring a smile to any Bebop fan. Not that they are getting back in time. It would be counterproductive for musician with their skills and imagination, neither not quite possible for those who were born after Bitches Brew period. The best template to suit this music would be Neo –Bop, but again that’s just a half truth.
It have to be said that leaders tone reminds Hubbard, but not only there is also Miles, and this is the later one, definitely hooked in an electric period. Shot and vigorous blows served on Shiva, the piece coming after more classic Opening, are clearly showing that.
Sternal’s piano is both modern and progressive, far ahead bebop days, but hey, we are not in 40-ties any more. Drums under Burwinkel’s control are very dynamic and contemporary. Bass follows in the same manner which was unknown in a bop days. What keeps it in tradition are chords progression and a love for staying in melody lines.
The way the melody is explored however is entirely different thing. Lovely ballad Ocean Park gives a good view of that and in the same time settles back a gentle mood. What the Heck is lovely spacious. Use of Rhodes gives space different dimension and vigorous and groovy bass makes a ground for leader’s trips.
It is all written music, but I can sense that something is happening here and actually musicians are breaking behind the border of the notation. Title tune Tension /Release opens with choral sounding almost like Renaissance Gabrieli’s music. It quickly turns to jazzy landscape, but again shows innovative approach. Here again I can sense improvisation going on intelligent and well set up drum beat.
This is kind of symbolic pattern: in music generally, but in jazz particularly. Not even mentioning life with its push-pull cycles. This is very intense piece as should be expected coming to the end with sublime trumpet outro floating over shimmering sea of cymbals.
They even got vocal track here. Alone, sung by Tobias Chrisl is James Joyce’s poem which had been adapted to the music. I never heard him before but I have to say that lyrics are handled incredibly well. His voice with slightly matt timbre is beautifully on pair with leader’s light tone with subtle vibrato. It blends naturally into the tissue of this recording. It’s tender and expressive in the same time and perfectly teamed with accompanying piano.
Then comes Closing. It makes perfect finishing touch and together with intro tune makes a frame for this recording. It’s short and elegant with trumpet waving good bye with grace. And once music stops I wish to play it back.