Max von Mosch Orchestra
Recorded July 2012 at Jazzclub Unterfahrt, Munich [56:33]
Recorded during a residence at the Jazzclub Unterfahrt,
Munich, in July 2012, this set has the three-piece suite Berlin
Kaboom! as its centrepiece and satellite works round out the
programme. Bandleader Max von Mosch, tenor and soprano sax player,
as well as clarinettist, is also the composer and his mainly German
band stay close to his tone and concept throughout.
Many of the voicings sound to me to be rooted in
the kind of orchestrations that Gil Evans fashioned prior to his infatuation
with the music of Jimi Hendrix. Space Walk is dominated by
altoist Christian Weidner and the writing for horns is excellent,
the shifting drum patterns providing constant interest. Each tune
has a brief narrative description suggested in the leader’s notes,
and that for Ballet of the Gnomes takes place in a forest
clearing, that locus classicus of German Romanticism. I decided to
ignore these literary prompts and heard instead puckish dance motifs,
a raucous sax solo and some Carla Bley-soundalike backing voicings.
Trombonist Adrian Mears is the narrator during Kazakhstan
with its powerful evocation of local colour and rhythms but also standing
proudly independent in his (so it seems to me) nod at the kind of
thing the mighty Gary Valente produces. Didgeridoo and bassoon star
in Human Intent. Nor the kind of things one expects to hear
in a Jazz album but then, the bassoon has seldom been played as funkily
as it is here by Gregor Bürger.
The suite Berlin Kaboom! shows hints of
Evans once again in the subtlety of its voicings but in the thrash
explosions it also looks back to The Art Ensemble of Chicago. The
modal vamp of the last of the three parts, Rugged, has both
angularity and also Roots lineage – an eclectic combination especially
when fused with idiosyncratic rhythmic patterns. There’s also a funkier
vibe ushered in by a becalmed trombone.
Difficult to classify though it is, this album will
appeal to the band’s admirers – admirers therefore of the selectively
eclectic and largely successful.