Recent listening, current

Saturday, May 9, 2015

199. Ex Ovo Pro / European Spassvogel (1976)

I don't hear enough of the European jazz scene, past and present, simply because of the music's more limited availability where I live. Thankfully, the web makes the world a little smaller and I was able to locate and hear this out-of-print gem from the Amayana label. European Spassvogel ties a lot of pieces together and after listening to many American groups from the same era, it's refreshing, I really like it. The music is exploratory with anchors in moody vamps and dark melodies. Thankfully, funk is only an ingredient, and the band doesn't dwell on it indefinitely, frequently moving away from it. Wild extemporizations of Mandi Riedelbauch ("In a Locrian Mood") are free and noisy, but the band is really tight. Harald Pompl pounds his traps all around the beat, stuffing the cracks with a unique assortment of percussion and technique. Max Kohler's growly electric bass pours the foundation, and while Pompl does his thing, Kohler keeps time. Hans Kraus-Hubner proviides electric piano, often leading, sometimes coaxing the soloists. It's just a good, chill listen. The songs are concise, and the sides wrap before you can get distracted. If you're like me and get burned out on purely funk-based fusion, this could be what you were looking for.

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