Do The Ostrich

Contemporary jazz made in Switzerland by Le String’Blö on their album March For Nature (VETO-RECORDS 019). It’s on the Veto-Records label which has been home to some quite strange and discordant quiet-mode mystery jazz, but this item doesn’t quite fit that template and is largely more upbeat, rambunctious, and melodic, even though the five-piece of players do have a line in a slightly more contemplative / exploratory mode of music.

Two saxophones, one bass, drums, and a Fender Rhodes piano; on that keyboard, Roberto Domeniconi seems to stand out both with the distinctive sound he adds (with the help of amplification and distortion) and his evident willingness to vamp in any mode that’s required of him. On the other hand, the woodwind section of Lino Blöchlinger and Sebastian Strinning lead on the melodic pieces with their strong tunes, some of which are indeed in keeping with the album title and stir the listener into a marching rhythm, and soon you too will be stomping around the room fit to rattle the teacups. Come to think of it, I hear also hear echoes of what Willem Breuker was doing in the 1970s, especially on the album Baal Brecht Breuker (BVHAAST 003, 1974). On these crowd-pleaser pieces, the combo resemble a slightly clunky version of 1970s Frank Zappa, when he tried to ape the cabaret-jazz-classical tunes of Kurt Weill, such as ‘Kanonen Song’.

On the slower meandery pieces, the five guys have found a way to improvise that leaves lots of space for each other, which is good; the only drawback is the slightly despondent tone of this mode of theirs, particularly the clarinets and saxes which sound positively whiney. The label tell us that this release represents something about old-guard meeting young-guard, but you’d have to be more of an insider in Swiss jazz currents to appreciate the full resonance of this. Strinning and Blöchlinger from Lucerne are deemed to be the leaders of this troupe, and have been bumping heads since they first met in 2015. As to the cover image, I have no idea what is happening, but it looks as though a photograph of an ostrich-like bird has been digitally manipulated to make it look like it’s howling or screeching in some way. From 23rd April 2019.

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