Sunday, January 12, 2014

Meyers Nachtcafe Plans And Plays Neuklang 2014

Berlin based trumpet phenom Christian Meyers takes a page from Roy Hargrove's post modern funk and pushes it to the next level.
Brent Black /
Old school goes new cool. Smooth jazz tried it but they kept getting in their own way. The sophomore release from Meyers Nachtcafe is a jazz nasty hybrid of the old CTI label hooking up with a really good Rick Braun vibe. There is no ear candy here, no programming but instead we have real musicians playing real instruments and a flash fried funk long absent in the west since the days of the Brecker Brothers.
Hybrids, mash ups and riffs...What it comes down to is that Meyers Nachtcafe has the uncanny ability to transverse a sonic spectrum that has been left virtually untouched for the last quarter century. Christian Meyers has a solid big band background and it may well be this training that allows his versatility with dynamics and energy to override the inherent groove of a quintet and morph the sound into that of a slightly larger ensemble. The ensemble here fires on all cylinders no matter the groove and lyrical flow and this is where the release begins scoring huge points. There is an ebb and flow not often associated with a sound that is for the most part very 'singles" oriented. "Green Grass Funk" kicks off the party and unlike their contemporaries in the west this is a loose, live and incredibly organic sound. No improvisational music should sound as though it has been sanitized for your protection.
The German label Neuklang is perhaps the best if not most overlooked European label here in the states. Unlike their contemporaries that find a wheelhouse and stick to it, Neuklang seems to thrive on a diverse sound and nowhere is that sound any better than with Plans and Plays from Meyers Nachtcafe. Check out both websites:
Tracks: Green Grass Funk; Sedona; Plans & Plays; Out Of The Darkness; Sister A; Jane; Picking Pebbles; Al's Seven; Timetrap; Walk Into Springtime; Little M
Personnel: Christian Meyers: Trumpet, Flugelhorn; Martin Johnson: Rhodes, Virus; Rudiger Nass: Guitar; Alex Uhl: Bass; Eckhard Stromer: Drums