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Reviewers: Don Mather, Tony Augarde, Dick Stafford, John Eyles, Robert Gibson, Ian Lace, Colin Clarke, Jack Ashby



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DEPART

Reloaded

ACT 9453-2 [49:53]

 

 



Timeless Dreams (Känzig) [5:19]
Du liebä Bueb von Ämmital (Trad / Känzig) [5:12]
Magic Transition (Sokal) [4:27]
Chlüppli Groove (Känzig / Sokal / Mayer) [4:48]
Mingus (Känzig) [5:46]
Drei im Quadrat (Känzig / Sokal) [4:22]
Another World (Känzig) [3:51]
One for Eddie Who? (Känzig) [4:40]
Funky Fun-Key (Känzig) [4:21]
Bassaxunison (Känzig) [3:19]
They Say it’s Spring (Haymes / Clarke) [3:30]
Harry Sokal (tenor & soprano saxophone)
Heiri Känzig (bass)
Jojo Mayer (drums)
rec. 22-24 September 2005, DRS Studio, Zurich

Born in Vienna in 1954, the saxophonist Harry Sokal has developed a considerable reputation both as an improviser and as an ensemble player. From 1979 to 1999 he was a member of the Art Farmer Quintet; since 1977 he has played with the Vienna Art Orchestra. That he could make important contributions in two such musically different contexts (he has also gigged with both Wynton Marsalis and Carla Bley!) says much for his flexibility and his technical skills. Both are much in evidence on this new CD.

It reunites a trio – Depart – which played with great success between 1985 and 1984. Depart’s other members are Swiss, bassist Heiri Känzig and drummer Jojo Mayer. Both are formidable musicians and can similarly draw on very varied musical backgrounds. Känzig also played with Farmer and the Vienna Art Orchestra. He has appeared regularly with musicians such as Kenny Wheeler and Didier Lockwood. A musician of eclectic tastes – and an interesting writer – he was the driving force behind the recent coming together of musicians from Austria and Switzerland with performers from Central Asia, the ‘Thien Shan-Schweiz-Express’. Drummer Jojo Mayer’s jazz credentials include a long spell with pianist Monty Alexander; based in New York since 1991, Mayer works in a huge range of musical contexts – including computer-generated groove music - far beyond the narrower confines of jazz.

The music on this CD, though informed by the eclectic interests and experiences of the three performers, belongs pretty firmly in the jazz tradition. ‘Du liebä Bueb von Ämmital’ (‘Sweet Boy from the Emmental’) may be based on a Swiss folk song, but has the infectious rhythms of one of Sonny Rollins’ jazz calypsos. ‘Mingus’, unsurprisingly, pays audible tribute to the compositional style of the great bassist and the ‘Eddie’ of ‘One for Eddie Who?’ sounds like Eddie Harris – an impression reinforced by Sokal’s use of the harmonizer. The standard ‘They Say It’s Spring’ gets a lovely performance which nods to the whole tradition of jazz ballad playing that descends from Coleman Hawkins and Lester Young.

The intuitive interplay between the members of the trio is impressive, and all three also take their opportunities as soloists with panache and concision. A thoroughly enjoyable album of high-class sax-led trio jazz, which should interest anyone who enjoys the post-Coltrane approach to the jazz tradition of, say, Joe Lovano.

Glyn Pursglove
 



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