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RODITI / IGNATZEK / RASSINFOSSE

Smile

Nagel Heyer 2072 [68:22]

 

 


Light in the dark (Ignatzek) [6:26]
Little Sunflower (Hubbard) [6:48]
Eu E A Brisa (Alf) [5:08]
Believe it or Not (Drabek) [3:37]
Corcovado (Jobim) [6:14]
Cantaloupe Island (Hancock) [3:31]
Misty (Garner) [6:47]
The Shadow of Your Smile (Mandel) [4:21]
The Monster and the Flower (Roditi) [7:22]
Obrigado (Ignatzek) [4:30]
Moonlight and Tears (Drabek) [5:24]
The Girl from Ipanema (Jobim) [8:07]
Claudio Roditi (Trumpet, flugelhorn, vocals)
Klaus Ignatzek (piano)
Jean-Louis Rassinfosse (bass)
Hans Dekker (drums)
Bremen Philharmonic Strings
Steffen Drabek (conductor, arranger)
Recorded live, November 13 2005, Schlachthof, Bremen.

The trio of Brazilian-born trumpeter Claudio Roditi, German pianist Klaus Ignatzek and Belgian bassist Jean-Louis Rassinfosse has been working together for some years now. Roditi has been based in New York since 1976, after study at Berklee, and has a considerable and well-deserved reputation as a trumpeter within both hard-bop and Latin-jazz traditions; he has worked with, amongst many others, Joe Henderson and McCoy Tyner. He worked for some time with Dizzy Gillespie’s United Nations Orchestra and then with the Jazz Masters, Slide Hampton’s Gillespie tribute band. His work with Cuban reed player Paquito D’Rivera attracted many plaudits. Klaus Ignatzek is a thoroughly accomplished pianist, equally at home in bop and hard-bop idioms, who has extensive experience working with European and American greats. Rassinfosse is another European musician who has worked successfully with a whole catalogue of masters, both European (such as Tete Montoliu and Michel Petrucciani) and American (e.g. Pepper Adams and Clifford Jordan). For ten years he worked and recorded with Chet Baker – so he knows a thing or two about accompanying a trumpeter.

The three have recorded some beautiful trio albums for the Nagel Hayer label – Three for One (recorded 2002, NH 2028), Light in the Dark (recorded 2004, NH 2004) and Reflections (recorded 2005, NH 2065). On these drumless recordings, the sense of space and transparency allows the interplay of instruments to be heard with exceptional clarity; there is an intimacy of mutual attention and subtlety of exchange which makes the recordings chamber jazz of a high order.

Here the trio has been supplemented by the addition of Dutch drummer Hans Dekker and a body of strings arranged and conducted by Steffen Drabek. The resulting live recording comes, unfortunately, as something of a disappointment. Dekker is a good drummer, and he doesn’t, in any crude sense, swamp the work of Roditi, Ignatzek and Rassinfosse; but he does, unavoidably, change the nature of their musical conversation, particularly rhythmically, and the change isn’t for the better, since the rhythms have become much more homogenous. But the real problem lies with the strings. Mixing jazz soloists with stings has never been an easy thing to bring off – it is easy to think of many attempts which failed and hard to think of many that succeeded (Clifford Brown with Neil Hefti’s arrangements?, Art Pepper with Bill Holman’s arrangements?).

The strings here largely have the effect of muddying the textures still further; some of the writing is rather oversweet and there are times when there seems to be little real connection between what the four jazz musicians are doing and what the strings are doing. Nor does the recording balance really integrate them consistently. Roditi, in any case, doesn’t seem to be on his very best form. Ignatzek is excellent; indeed, some of his solos are the best reason for listening to the album, and will probably be the reason I shall make occasional future returns to it.

The best of Roditi-Ignatzek-Rossinfosse is to be heard on their ‘pure’ trio albums, not on this rather unsatisfying, if well intentioned, creation .

Glyn Pursglove

 



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