JazzhausMusik JHM 272

Out of left field, or really Basel, Switzerland, comes this quirky CD which knits together Jazz piano trio considerations with clanking infill from the spinet, mulched with electronic pulses. The CD may be unexpected, but it’s as fascinating as it is unique.

Keyboardist Pio Schürmann has worked with the likes of François Houle and drummer Daniel Weber with Michael Pilz, while bassist Martin Wyss and electronics manipulator Robin Michel are busy locally. However the timbres created for this session make it an outlier compared to their other work. Take “Schlummermorche” and “Prozession 2”, tracks that touch on the swinging piano trio format. While the former’s introduction includes a walking bass line and hi-hat pops, Schürmann inner piano-string stabs upset linear development as lawn-mower-like buzzing and singular whistling amplify the slinky melody in tandem with double bass string scratches. Meanwhile on “Prozession 2”, which presents itself as a swift and humorous Jazz line, the performance is turned around with stacked keyboard chording, conga drum-like taps and reedy siren-like suggestions.

Vacuum cleaner like drones and watery chirps from Michel contribute to the scene-setting and remain a constant underlying presence throughout the disc. So does the spinet’s oblique string setup. Buzzing up and down the keyboard, the kinetic stops and plucks produced by Schürmann at times appear ready to plunge into the reading of a fugue or a romantic patina, then just as categorically astonish by creating unexpected motifs. Intonation shrinks to microtonal stops or joins an airy flute-like replication from the programmed oscillations to climb to folkloric runs that could resound straight from the mountain air.

These improvisations constantly mutate from the rugged to the refined and include voice intimations, double bass power plucks, grinding wave form continuum and cultivated percussion asides. Because of these strategies, the quartet sounds as if it would be comfortable in (m)any musical situations With Carabattola as a debut, Ramsch’s next move will be anticipated.

—Ken Waxman

Track Listing: 1. Prozession 1 2. Sfazù 3. Schreie und Flüstern 4. Schlummermorchel 5. Wabe 6. Prozession 2 7. Baumgrenze

Personnel: Pio Schürmann (piano, spinet); Martin Wyss (bass); Daniel Weber (drums) and Robin Michel (electronics)