Monday, October 24, 2016

Angelika Niescier / Florian Weber - NYC Five (Intakt, 2016)

Looking to re-create the excitement of New York City’s vibrancy in music, the group consisting of Angelika Niescier on saxophone, Ralph Alessi on trumpet, Florian Weber on piano, Christopher Tordini on bass and Tyshawn Sorey on drums, create colorful and spirited music on this album. “The Barn Thing” opens the album with choppy horns and spirited rhythm accompaniment. The full band interplay is fast and intricate with heavy drops of piano and rapid drumming. The leader’s saxophone comes into the frame, soloing and keeping the fast pace going. There is an excellent quartet section with everyone just playing lights out, made even more intense by the entry of Alessi’s trumpet. The music is relentless and very exciting and the group runs full tilt to the finish line. Swirling saxophone and trumpet keep the music moving briskly forward on “And Over” and the group brings music forward in waves, before it crests and Weber’s piano takes over, casting the music in a more delicate and thoughtful manner. Light and nimble saxophone is added, and the trumpet joins in adding lyrical qualities to the proceedings. The music drops dynamically to spare piano and cymbals before coalescing at the end. “Invaded” slows things down a little bit with a open ballad type feel. There is gentle and light toned saxophone over spare piano, bass and brushes. They develop a melancholy air to the music, which changes markedly on “The Liquid Stone” where the leader’s strutting saxophone is framed by trumpet and cymbals and cultivates music that is characterized by nervousness and unease. There is a spacious interlude for the rhythm section that gradually gathers steam aided by smears and sparks of brass that enter the stream of the music. The strong drumming and piercing trumpet are very impressive, and Niescier engages with her fellow musicians setting up a powerful collective group improvisation. “Parsifal” brings the intensity back down to a simmer, with light trumpet and spacious rhythm accompaniment. Saxophone and trumpet gently probe the music while delicate brushes and bass provide a subtle backdrop. The swirling brushes plus the thick and ever present bass provide a quiet focus for this track. The concluding selection “Für Krefeld” sees the band opening together nicely with the saxophone building over piano, bass and drums with trumpet riding shotgun. The horns push the tempo over taut rhythm of strong piano and drums and stoic bass. The piano and drums are very strong and exciting, making for a complicated and interesting rhythmic foundation allowing the horns to blast back in and enjoy the fun. This leads to an exciting saxophone and drums based conversation, before Alessi takes the baton and drives home a very powerful statement of his own. NYC Five - amazon.com

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