I've had the privilege to be contacted from artists and labels all over the world. The Christian Meyers Quintet and East Autumn which streets on 11/02/12 and makes all the headaches well worth the time, trouble and effort to try and share a perspective of what is happening around the globe. While "European jazz" is often incorrectly thought of as cold and harmonically sterile, The Christian Meyers Quintet turns in a jazz collective of east meets west with a contemporary flair but old school swing that may be one of Neuklang's finest releases of the year. For a frame of reference in terms of label sound think ECM meets old school Impulse. There is a groove laid down from a rich sonic color palette that is oddly familiar yet somehow different while slipping in and around various styles with finesse and incredible skill. Meyers is a stellar trumpet/flugelhorn player that is somewhat reminiscent of say Freddie Hubbard and Enrico Rava. There are first call bands working the Big Apple that don't swing this hard or have the warmth that this quintet displays consistently throughout East Autumn.
While the more traditional working band feel seems to predominate the recording, the collective members are given ample space to show off their musical synergy while never losing their keen sense of lyrical focus. Meyers had the classic quintet sound for trumpet in mind for some time and his skills as a composer and the bands apparent symbiotic chemistry has forged their own unique sound. "A Glimpse of Past Events" opens the release with a tune inspired by the reminder of a melody that seems to get stuck in your head...this one will! A hard charging syncopated swing that lays down a righteous groove with subtle harmonic changes oddly reminiscent of an European Tower of Power on a slightly smaller scale. "Jim's Jump" is another smoker dedicated to a colleague who jazzed up his theatre show. Meyers sense of melody and swing is spot on. The rhythm section of pianist Ull Mock, double bassist and Jens Loh and drummer Eckard Stromer could play with any one. Tenor saxophonist Andi Maile proves he is in fact the real deal on this number with a perfect compliment to Meyers working the horn section. The haunting ballad "Still Around" has that wonderful cinematic quality that is a tune in search of a fine feature film. Wistful and deceptively subtle in changing the harmonic ebb and flow of this release is solidly carried out straight through East Autumn. Meyers, while swinging hard shows an incredible dynamic range complimented with the lyrical nuances of bassist Loh for a ballad that much like "A Glimpse Of Past Events" is a tune likely to get stuck in your head on more than one occasion. Each tune here is like a one act play telling a uniquely personal story while never getting bogged down in self indulgent sub plot.
The chain only being as strong as the weakest link is perfectly placed here. Old school becoming new cool has the Christian Meyers Quintet nailing it straight through. A one word review of East Autumn may best be described as "addictive." I have gone through some great trumpet players this year, Meyers ranks in the top 10% easy and the ensemble only makes a good thing even better.
A true no brainer.
Tracks: A Glimpse Of Past Events; Light Flight; Jim's Jump; Still Around; April's Prayer; Out Of The Darkness; East Autumn; Kitchen Talk; Cat Call; Berlin Pancake; Cold And Sunny; Little M.
Personnel: Christian Meyers: trumpet, flugelhorn; Andi Malle: tenor sax; Ull Mock: drums; Jens Loh: double-bass; Eckard Stromer: drums.
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