Hat Hut Records
Max Nagl Ensemble | Quartier du faisan

Hat Hut Records hatOLOGY 621 9 Tracks 66 Minutes Released July 2005

File Under: Free-spirited
by Joyce Corbett February 2006

The bottom left corner of the CD sleeve says File under: Jazz/Free improvisation. In the liner notes we read that this style could be called Viennese 'new alpine music'.

Listening to Quartier du faisan, you soon realize that anything may turn up — hints and bits of Slavic polka, rumba or your local hockey arena’s organ. The first 'tune' on the CD, “Beduinewalzer”, is a waltz that blasts off in 5/4 time (an anti-waltz, really). “Bat Chain” (a relative of Captain Beefheart’s “Bat Chain Puller” from the 70s), throws us some Medeski, Martin and Wood sounds, a Louis Armstrong-style throaty trumpet and an insolent-tongued trombone.

“Patient” starts pretty and quiet with a glimmer of darkness. When the steady striking of the cymbal stops, we are in a surrealist zone, outside time. The trumpet screams and whinnies. A night mare? A snort and a snore. Stick returns to cymbal. Instruments weave crescendoing sounds and an infectious reggae groove develops. Soon we are on a wildly accelerating carousel accompanied by circus horns.

“Breakstone Variations II” is inspired by Anthony Braxton, one of Max Nagl’s stated heroes. “Falarm — Delirium Clemens” starts with overblown brass and shaken shells reminiscent of Mingus, but that’s just the beginning. There’s also a touch of 60s Bluenote styles, some New Orleans shuffle, insane intensity and again, the circus.

I would describe Quartier du Faisan as carefully composed but free-spirited music that allows room for improvisation in the best jazz tradition. It’s the product of an anarchic musical imagination with a sense of humour.

Max Nagl Ensemble

Max Nagl | alto saxophone, melodica
Clemens Salesny | alto saxophone, bass clarinet
Franz Hautzinger | quarter tone trumpet
Lorenz Raab | trumpet
Martin Ptak | trombone
Clemens Wenger | piano
Josef Novotny | electronics, piano
Achim Tang | double bass
Lukas Knofler | drums
Luis Ribeiro | percussion

We welcome your comments and feedback
Joyce Corbett
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