Thursday, April 3, 2014

Michael Wollny Weltentraum Act 2014

An unconventional approach to modern jazz piano!
Brent Black /
Thanks to Michael Wollny the criteria for a standard just expanded. If variety is indeed the spice of life, Weltentraum is the heart beat for the new sound in modern jazz. Only two Wollny originals grace this eclectic release while other tunes run the sonic spectrum from Varese to the Flaming Lips. Perhaps the odd man out in term of song choice would be the vocal riff on Pink's "God Is a DJ" performed by Theo Bleckman. Some pianists work a rich harmonic color palette while Wollny manufactures ethereal soundscapes that float above a myriad of emotive qualities.
While the collective is first rate, especially with the addition of bassist Tim Lefebvre there is a distinct lyrical sense of purpose set forth by Wollny. Compositions of note include "Little Person" which while a "pretty tune" showcases subtle nuances that have Wollny as one of the hot tickets working the European theatre. The original "Engel" is music with muscle, a composition that follow Wollny's melodic muse before ending with a decisive harmonic attitude of discovery. Michael Wollny recreates "God Is a DJ" and having Theo Bleckman as the vocalist is the perfect nightcap on an outstanding musical evening.
Weltentraum works thanks to artistic integrity and the ability of Wollny to keep an organic center without ever getting in his own way. The finesse of drummer Eric Schaefer simply ties up any loose ends for a release that demands your attention. Understated yet adventurous, Michael Wollny is an emerging force!

Tracks: Nacht; Be Free, A Way; Little Person; Lasse!; Fragment An Sich 1; In Heaven; Rufe In Der Horchenden Nacht; When The Sleeper Wakes; Hochrot; Mühlrad; Engel; Un Grand Sommeil Noir; Fragment An Sich 2; God Is A DJ.

Personnel: Michael Wollny: piano, harpsichord (14); Tim Lefebvre: double bass; Eric Shaefer: drums; Theo Bleckmann: vocals (14).