January 21, 0208
Umland Records 3
JazzHausMusik JHS 252
Taking on novel populist roles on these CDs, Münster-basesd alto and bass saxophonist Jan Klare, best-known for his leadership of The Dorf large ensemble, ventures into the sound world of hearty percussion and brief performances. Klare, whose catalogue radiates influences from all parts of the improvised musical globe, is joined on ReKorT by Dutch bass guitarist Luc Ex and American drummer Michael Vatcher for a dozen tracks that mate Punkish vigor with instrumental Jazz smarts. Taking the Way Back Machine even further into the past from Punk Rock’s Year Zero of 1976, Bambostic is a quartet whose 11 selections were part of the repertoire of alto saxophonist Earl Bostic (1913-1965), whose danceable hits charted from the 1940s to the 1960s and bridged Swing Era romps and groove-based R&B.
Universally acknowledged as a master saxophone technician, who was admired by such subsequently influential saxophonists as John Coltrane and Stanley Turrentine, Bostic never claimed to be anything more than a populariser employed. Yet to reinterpret the essence of Bostic for the 21st century,, Klare only playing alto, is joined by drummer Michael Griener, who has worked with everyone from Ulrich Gumpert to Rudi Mahall; journeyman bassist Alexander Morsey, who is part of The Dorf among many other bands; and organist Kai Weiner, usually found in Jazz-Soul, Blues and Reggae aggregations.
Pure fun, but with no hint of condescension, the CD features the Bambostics running through Bostic’s hits at a jogger’s pace with Klare affecting a wide, fruity tone, Griener emphasizing the backbeat much more than he has in any avant-garde situation, and Weiner making sure all the solos float on an undulating expanses of tremolo organ cascades, more akin to the uncomplicated style of Bill Doggett or Wild Bill Davis, then more modern organists. Far from acting like stereotypical isolated modern jazzers, the quartet is spontaneous enough to retain the group vocals on “Nay! Nay! Go Away!” the final track, while propelling a mambo-like rhythm.
Probably in a like manner to the way Bostic intimidated other saxophonists, Klare & Co. turn the title tune into a polyphonic concoction. Balancing on the organist’s plush chords, Klare’s shoehorns quotes from everything from “Turkey in the Straw” to “Caravan” into his stuttering stop-time solo with Morsey contributing Slam Stewart-like bowing and scat-singing harmonizing to the track. Persistently providing the rhythmic background, the bassist’s other contributions include short breaks on more conventional tracks. With a tone dirtier, more watery and certainly less formal than the honoree’s, Klare’s jumping vibrations pick up most of the tune’s nuances, whether extending the mambo beat on “Mambostic” with a low key reading, or racing to graft a Bebop-like head onto Klezmer affected textures on “Danube Waves”. The relaxed easy swing he spreads throughout the tunes is particularly appropriate in the plausible reading of “Flamingo”, Bostic’s name-checked greatest hit. Taking the variant from note perfect to altissimo spills, the alto saxophonist adds emphasis and shading to his reading with a plush pulse from the organist adding a notable swing feel.
Klare who has worked with Vatcher and Ex singly and together in other situations doesn’t have to take earlier role models into consideration on ReKorT though. But the crunchy bass pace and gangly drumming ensure that a slab of Punk Rock-like raucousness is mixed in with discerning reed improvisations throughout. No Jekyll and Hyde, Klare still propels an individual personality on each of his horns. On tunes ranging from “nac” to “schwarzkruit”, his massive bass saxophone slurs are simultaneously subterranean and rugged, moving forward through the density with pressurized snorts and weaving slurs. But the solo strategy is adaptable, since staccato altissimo whines often join with variations and extensions to reveal a prism of timbres.
On alto saxophone, Klare’s tone is light and yielding. Coupled with Vatcher’s shuffle beat a track such as “derwish” is nimble and attentive, with high-pitched reed vibrations presaging Ex’s straightforward throbs entering the mix for a concentric and friendly finale. Although as beat-oriented as elsewhere his yodeling alto saxophone textures are able to dilute rugged drum beats on “night in sibiria”, allowing doubled paradiddles and decorated saxophone sighs to confirm the stop-time soulfulness of the tune. A couple of tracks, “healer” and “plastic bag” even suggest some of the technique Klare brings to DJ`s Nightmare. The former is a relaxed “Flamingo”-like ballad whose theme is made exploratory via reed sucking, animated drumming and Ex’s clopping bass solo. Abandoning Punk aggression for R&B-like power on “plastic bag”, Klare comes across 1940s baritone saxophonist Leo “Mad Lad” Parker as the emotional level ratchets upwards, aided by rugged drum breaks and sluicing thumps from Ex. It too could be in Bostic’s orbit.
Populist, but in a pleasing not a hectoring manner both CDs prove that sounds can be powerful, rhythmic, and even at times danceable, yet still contain elements of thoughtful, ever-changing improvisation.
Track Listing: ReKorT: 1, descent 2. space suit 3. nac 4. derwish 5. ground control 6. Antenna 7. healer 8. plastic bag 9. break 10. night in sibiria 11. blues for wheatleigh 12. schwarzkruit
Personnel: ReKorT: Jan Klare (alto and bass saxophone s); Luc Ex (bass guitar) and Michael Vatcher (drums)
Track Listing: Nightmare: 1. Up There In Orbit 2. Earl's Imagination 3. Mambostic 4. Moon Is Low 5.Disk Jockey's Nightmare 6. Apollo Theatre Jump 7. Flamingo 8. Danube Waves 9. Where Or When 10. Filibuster 11. Nay! Nay! Go Away!
Personnel: Nightmare: Jan Klare (alto saxophone); Kai Weiner (organ); Alexander Morsey (bass) and Michael Griener (drums)