Sunday, July 15, 2012

Titan Et Al Lost & Found Neuklang 2012

U.S. Street Date 08/31/12
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Germany in general and the Neuklang label in particular are another treasure trove of sonic wonder while home for some incredibly diverse talent the consistency of artistic excellence is amazing. The consistency I refer to is on display in all most no better place than Tian Et Al and his latest Lost & Found.

Finding their own niche somewhere between bebop and postbop there is the unexpected texture added with Angel Rubio and his Spanish guitar. Jazz is indeed becoming a global force and lines of distinction here in the west are becoming razor thin thanks to the creative energy of Tian Et Al, a saxophonist that could hold his own on any stage in the Big Apple. Tian whose given name is Christian Korthals leads a formidable sextet through their paces, at times sounding like an even larger ensemble and at other times embracing the deceptively subtle approach of a less is more Coleman Hawkins like riff on a ballad "Echo From The Past." Opening with the infectious "Chocolate con Churros" the musical melting pot is evident. There is a fusion of cultures but with a delightful bohemian like twist built within the sound. The inspiration of a slight more open ended sound may be due largely in part to Korthals writing this compositions on his year long odyssey across the globe as a street musician. The addition of the Latin and flamenco influences in this setting while not new, has never been performed as well. "My Funny Valentine" is re-harmonized into a slightly more uptempo tune kicked off with one of the finest trombone players I have heard in some time in Achim Fink. The rhythm section is rounded out with Christopher Siegenthaler on piano, Benjamin Tai Trawinski on double bass and Tobias Moller on drums. The synergy that transposes itself on to the recorded medium is simply fantastic. Shifting meter on the fly while working without what would seem to be a harmonic net is captivating. The syncopated pop articulated with the lyrical sense of purpose is something most ensembles can strive for and never reach in a career. Tian Et Al has lyrical flow and texture down cold. An exact science but with an open ended warmth and accessibility. "Beer for Breakfast" is but one of the rather catchy tunes you may find yourself coming back to over and over again. Bebop goes pop? No...this is much deeper but when played with real emotion and passion then the joy is undeniable.

Korthals has a motto, "Never fear the unknown." Rather zen like and I dig it...Much like the recording.

5 Stars all the way!

Tracks: Chocolate con Churros; Echo From The Past; Jeder Tag; My Funny Valentine; Lila Licht; Ixtlan; Beer For Breakfast; Watch Out I Bite; Flor Mixteca.

Personnel: Christian "Tian" Korthals: tenor & soprano saxophones; Achim Fink: trombone; Christopher Siegenthaler: piano; Angel Rubio: Spanish guitar; Benjamin Tai Trawinski: double bass; Tobias Moller: drums.