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(54:19, Fazzul Music)
TRACK LIST: 1. Wach Auff 2:16 2. En Route 5:14 3. Next Fragment 8:11 4. 7413 5:18 5. Intermezzo 2:08 6. Ganz Ton 6:44 7. En Art Blues 7:46 8. Inmitten 4:09 9. Dance 1:53 10. Muster 13 9:57 11. Melafina 0:43 LINEUP: Markus Stauss – bass saxophone Remy Strauli – drums; keyboard Richard Koch – trumpet
Prolusion. The Swiss trio VOGEL, STAUSS UND SEINE ARTGENOSSEN is a new venture for the creative impulses of composer and saxophonist Markus Stauss, who has been active for decades in multiple projects and endeavors covering multiple styles of music. "En Route" is the debut album of this more recent project, and was released through Stauss’ own label Fazzul Music in 2014.
Analysis. Those who have followed the career and music of Markus Stauss will probably associate him with music that more often than not can be described inside a context of challenging and demanding music, where expressions such as avant-garde jazz and avant-garde rock will never be all that far away. Those who appreciate such an approach to music will be pleased to know that this album does not break any expectations in that department, as this production is also one containing material of a fairly challenging nature. The setup here kind of indicates the nature of the music explored, with the trumpet as the more dramatic instrument, the saxophone with something more of a less dramatic impact and with drum patterns in steady and firm support. A mix and a blend that offer more variation than what one might expect at first. A key feature throughout, at least as I experience this album, is that, by and large, the compositions come across as made with something of a focus on jazz aesthetics. Layered instrumental harmonies are rare occasions, instead the trumpet and the saxophone appear to follow separate movements, but set up as to complement and supplement each other rather than opting for a more conventional dominant and subservient instrument role. The individual instruments are given some brief standalone sequences, but, by and large, the compositions function on the intertwined motifs of the trumpet and the saxophone, with sophisticated drum and percussion details maintaining and, to some extent, setting pace and momentum, occasionally with some delicate keyboard details added to the mix. The overall sound and atmosphere of the recording is a seamless one throughout, but there is a great deal of variation at hand, still. From melancholic careful ventures to more uplifting, vibrant and spirited excursions set to marching rhythms, majestic fanfare surges appear now and then, and brief flurries of more chaotic and free-form interludes make brief and occasional appearances as well. The saxophone tends to stay in the deeper register, at times functioning as a bass or guitar, as I experience these compositions, while the trumpet has a stronger focus on lighter toned, brittle sounds, thus creating a natural contrast to the saxophone.
Conclusion. Vogel Stauss Und Seine Artgenossen comes across as a daring and challenging venture, closer related to free jazz than to avant-garde rock due to instrumentation and some approaches used in the compositions, but in truth not truly fitting into any of the categories as such. High quality musicianship is as given here as in just about any other venture featuring Markus Stauss, so at the end of the day musical taste is the only guiding factor here, and I'd recommend those with a general and liberal taste in jazz music to give this one a check.
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