|File Under: Free-spirited
by Joyce Corbett February 2006
The bottom left corner of the CD sleeve says File under: Jazz/Free improvisation. In the liner notes we read that this style could be called Viennese 'new alpine music'.
Listening to Quartier du faisan, you soon realize that anything may turn up hints and bits of Slavic polka, rumba or your local hockey arenas organ. The first 'tune' on the CD, Beduinewalzer, is a waltz that blasts off in 5/4 time (an anti-waltz, really). Bat Chain (a relative of Captain Beefhearts Bat Chain Puller from the 70s), throws us some Medeski, Martin and Wood sounds, a Louis Armstrong-style throaty trumpet and an insolent-tongued trombone.
Patient starts pretty and quiet with a glimmer of darkness. When the steady striking of the cymbal stops, we are in a surrealist zone, outside time. The trumpet screams and whinnies. A night mare? A snort and a snore. Stick returns to cymbal. Instruments weave crescendoing sounds and an infectious reggae groove develops. Soon we are on a wildly accelerating carousel accompanied by circus horns.
Breakstone Variations II is inspired by Anthony Braxton, one of Max Nagls stated heroes. Falarm Delirium Clemens starts with overblown brass and shaken shells reminiscent of Mingus, but thats just the beginning. Theres also a touch of 60s Bluenote styles, some New Orleans shuffle, insane intensity and again, the circus.
I would describe Quartier du Faisan as carefully composed but free-spirited music that allows room for improvisation in the best jazz tradition. Its the product of an anarchic musical imagination with a sense of humour.