Night Thoughts

Adasiewicz / Erb / Roebke
More Dreams Less Sleep

If it feels like we’re living through a ghastly re-run of the 1930s these days, there’s a crumb of comfort to be had that some bright souls are defying the isolationist, philistine spirit of the age and forging creative links across international borders. It’s a very small crumb of comfort, admittedly, but I’ll take it where I can get it at the moment, thank you very much.

Jazz was big in the 1930s too, of course, and what we have here is the jazz equivalent of a town twinning association exchange trip between the lakeside cities of Lucerne and Chicago. Christoph Erb brings the reeds from Switzerland, whilst the American contingent of Jason Adasiewicz and Jason Roebke add vibraphone and double bass respectively. At this point, my extended metaphor breaks down, because this sounds nothing like any jazz recorded in the 1930s that I’m aware of.

Instead, we have five, distinctly modern improvisations, with terse one-word titles and a definite nocturnal vibe, if you’ll excuse the pun. Quite why the vibraphone should make everything sound as if it’s happening after midnight I don’t know, but it certainly does. This doesn’t mean it’s soporific, however. Quite the opposite. Erb’s saxophone and clarinet scamper through the vibes and bass, creating an urgent, itchy atmosphere, complete with insistent, knocking percussion effects that hammer away like those thoughts that just won’t go away at three o’clock in the morning. There are patches of relative calm to balance this out, so the whole thing is like a strangely enjoyable anxiety dream on a muggy night.

Veto Records are becoming a bit of a stamp of quality, their satisfying cardboard packages containing genuine musical treasures. This one is perfect for when you want to lie awake and worry about the state of the world.