Thursday, June 09, 2016

Florian Egli’s Weird Beard - Everything Moves (Intakt Records, 2016)

Saxophonist Florian Egli’s band Weird Beard with Dave Gisler on guitar, Martina Berther on bass and Rico Baumann on drums makes music that will move from a whisper to a scream, rooted in modern jazz but also drawing on a wide range of other influences. “The Meaning of Meaning” opens the album with subtle bass and drums developing a medium tempo, and Egli’s saxophone entering with a dreamy tone. Gisler’s guitar breaks out nicely; showering sparks over the proceedings, as the band moves to a more strident conclusion. Hazy saxophone and guitar set the tone for “Maja” with light toned saxophone lifting off on a bed of gentle guitar and percussion. The swirls and eddies from each instrument become more intense and prominent, deeply engaging with each other in improvisational dialogue. “No Man On” is short but very powerful, with heavy electric funk coming from the guitar, bass and drums and it makes for a nice contrast to hear Elgi’s cool saxophone glide over such a nasty rhythm. Snarling guitar and whip cracking drums keep up a wicked beat, and Gisler develops another excellent guitar solo before the full band crashes to a ferocious ending. There is a long electronic tone and samples lending a feel of ominous abstraction to “Old Places.” Heavily amplified guitar kicks off a massive wall of noise, which is met with heavy percussion. Choppy guitar and drums combine with urgent saxophone to make for a very exciting performance, powerful and heavy music that is driven relentlessly forward. “Waiting” has an odd elastic tone and rhythm, which builds to a nice fast pace, and a very fast collective improvisation that is complex and exciting. The music drops off into a quieter section where Gisler’s guitar arcs through the air and the band finishes with a dynamic flourish. This album was quite interesting, because the band was comfortable playing both jazz and more experimental fare. They worked well together as a group, and also have some very potent soloists making them a band to be reckoned with. Everything Moves -

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