Saturday, May 09, 2015

Potsa Lotsa Plus - Plays Love Suite by Eric Dolphy (Jazzwerkstatt, 2015)

Led by saxophonist and clarinetist Silke Eberhard, Potsa Lotsa is a band that plays music by and inspired by the great jazz musician Eric Dolphy. “Love Suite” was to be his wedding music, sadly unrecorded following his senseless death in 1964. In addition to this composition, there are a number of Eberhard originals that round out the album. The group is a drummerless septet that consists of brass, reeds and live electronics. The first thee tracks on the album comprise “Love Suite” which features delicate shades of horns, clarinets and saxophones that add hues of colors to the pastel feel of the music. Clarinet continues to sway gently in the musical breeze building with saxophones and trumpet to the sounds of twittering birds, before the final movement of the piece lets loose a strong tenor saxophone solo, piercing in its energy before it is reabsorbed into the horn cloud. “Sketches 1-3” are another linked group of performances, although more loosely written than the previous suite and with the focus on improvisation rather than ensemble play. The horns develop a nimbler layered sound, somewhat akin to the World Saxophone Quartet, and they are unpredictable in their swirl and sway. I’m not quite sure what the purpose of adding electronics to the group was, because it doesn’t seem to fit in organically with the group’s sound. There are odd electronic noises peppered through the album, sometimes as a framing device and sometimes as another voice in the choir, but the sound stands in such sharp contrast to the brass and reeds, that it is a bit jarring. This is certainly an explorative album, and while it checks Dolphy’s work in the beginning with a long-form composition of his, the finest nod to the great musician was by paying tribute to him by writing original work. It shows that the band has really paid attention him and has taken his lessons to heart. Plays Love Suite by Eric Dolphy -

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