Friday, August 26, 2011

Christian Artmann - Uneasy Dreams (Self-Released, 2011))

Flute player and composer Christian Artmann studied classical music intensely before hearing the call of jazz. On this album he is accompanied by Jeff Hirshfield on drums, Johannes Weidenmueller on bass, Rubens Salles on piano, Elena McEntire on voice and Luiz Claudio on percussion. Mixing modern jazz with different musical influences from around the world, the band makes for an intriguing sound. The group specializes in unusual textures and contextualization, like on the tracks where wordless vocals and flute combine to create a beguiling and different sound. The appropriately named “Kafka” is a short blast of disjoined flute and vocals that leaves one with an uneasy and unresolved feeling. The music is woven together in a textile like manner on “Dark State Blue” where Artmann’s flute plays against soft brushes in an interesting manner, developing a mellow meditative sound. The group uses shorter pieces like “Nymph,” a duet of flute and percussion, to break up the flow of the sound and offer interesting commentary on the music. On “Bebe-Vale da Ribeira,” the music moves through several dynamic sections of a surreal mini-suite, anchored once in by locked-in flute and percussion. Putting the light, nimble drums together with the agility of Artmann’s flute makes for a deeply haunted feel on some of the songs including the concluding “Uneasy Dreams.” Altogether, the music on this album worked well. The band has a unique sound that stands out amongst contemporary jazz by incorporating flute and voice on the front line. The rhythm section provides a solid anchor to keep the light sounding music from floating off into the void, and Artmann developed has his own voice and sound on the flute, combining classical and ethnic influences into the jazz flute tradition. Uneasy Dreams -

Send comments to Tim.