Jochen Rueckert is on a 'Charm Offensive' for his second Pirouet release. Having immigrated to 1990s New York City from his native Germany, he's got some top-notch New Yorkers behind him to fuse classical music from India with jazz to create a whole new sub-genre. Blending ragas with jazz opens up whole new avenues of exploration and this quartet does Ruekert's eight complex originals proud.
Christian Weidner's alto saxophone flies over the piano/bass/drums rhythm section of his groundbreaking quartet on 'Every Hour of the Light and Dark' (Pirouet Records). It's a heady concoction whose circuitous road is so delicious that while the destination remains unknown, it's the getting there that's all the fun.
For his 16th CD, Henning Sieverts' 'Double Quartet' (Pirouet) reaches back over 600 years to research the history of the Bavarian Irsee Monastery in uncovering a mass written in 1614. He then wrote 15 original pieces of music (shortest 51 seconds; longest 12 minutes) for duo, quartet and octet in a similar style but expanding it into modern jazz. No overdubs.
Think of what a trio comprised of bass clarinet, bass and drums could sound like where the dulcet tones of the lead instrument not only blends, but weaves and insinuates itself through the mix like a human voice as the piano-less rhythm section gurgles and comes alive like some dinosaur egg being born in the primordial ooze. Welcome to the world inhabited by Dutch composer Joris Roelof, 32, he of the esoteric bass clarinet, on 'Amateur Dentist' (Pirouet Records).
He's been called a completely new type of jazz drummer and a drum revolutionary. Composer Christian Lillinger is certainly in the vanguard of what's coming out of Europe these days. Grund is his band. 'Grund' is also his new Pirouet Records CD.
Robert Landfermann's Pirouet debut introduces a new quintet who all coalesce around his compositional and instrumental prowess. 'Night Will Fall' doesn't even try to be accessible. It's challenging. You have to work at it. This could be a deterrent or it could be an adventure -- depending upon the listener's ear.
Some of most adventurous new jazz these days seems to be coming from Germany's Pirouet Records. Case in point is 'Breve' by altoist Hayden Chisholm, 40. His trio, also named Breve, with pianist John Taylor, 73, and bassist Matt Penman, 41, eschews drums for a more flowing sound not led by the dictates of percussion pushing the sound into regimented time signatures. Here, the musicians are free to flow and do so in strange, serene and captivating ways.
For Achim Kaufmann's second solo piano CD, the composer has stretched himself to the point of absurdity...but it works. To interpret the noninterpretable is Kaufmann's stock-in-trade on 'Later' (Pirouet Records). To that end, he covers Syd Barrett's "Dominoes" and Bob Dylan's "It's All Over Now Baby Blue."
Guitarist Norbert Scholly and pianist Rainer Böhm rewrite the rulebook for jazz duos on their debut for Germany's Pirouet label, as solos consistently melt into accompaniment and vice-a-versa.