Label: Bocian Records
Zeitkratzer keeps on being good for a surprise and finally goes jazz! Looking at the line-up of the "modern composition supergroup" (The Wire) it seems astonishing that it took so long: Saxophonists Frank Gratkowski and Hayden Chisholm both won independently the German radio SWR Jazz award, the French horn virtuoso Hild Sofie Tafjord grew up with jazz, as her father and uncle are members of Norwegian jazz group Brazz Brothers, Hilary Jeffery toured with numerous jazz musicians, as did drummer Maurice de Martin who spent his early years in the New York downtown scene. Reinhold Friedl studied piano with Alexander von Schlippenbach, and Ulrich Phillipp is a known improviser who toured with Charles Gayle -- and Zeitkratzer is joined by a second bass player: Martin Heinze, member the Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra. The idea for The Shape of Jazz to Come arose, when Zeitkratzer met the outstanding Swedish singer Mariam Wallentin at a festival in France. Wallentin is most known for her solo and duo projects Mariam the Believer and Wildbirds & Peacedrums but also as a jazz musician: she is a member of Mats Gustafsson's Fire! Orchestra and was already awarded the Swedish Jazz Prize. Zeitkratzer and Mariam Wallentin now together present a tribute to great jazz musicians from Sweet Emma Barrett to Muhal Richard Abrams. The release opens with Muhal Richard Abrams's incredible "Bird Song", one of the rare jazz compositions including live-electronics. "Bird Song" sounds like real Zeitkratzer: raw, direct, urgent, the sounds mirrored on a huge hall plate. "Struttin' With Some Barbecue" was composed by Lil Hardin Armstrong, Louis Armstrong's first wife. It was so successful that he even tried to claim the authorship but lost in court. Zeitkratzer and Mariam Wallentin here perform it in a funny contemporary Dixieland version, directly leading to the sad classic "Cry Me A River". Crying instruments support Wallentin's expressive voice. Sweet Emma Barrett's "Jelly Roll Blues" becomes as crunchy and brutal as it's words and message promote: a noise-blues, stomping, atonal, and belligerent. In "Strange Fruit", Mariam Wallentin's voice reflects the brutality and deep sadness, supported by Lisa Marie Landgraf's bitterly scratching violin solo. Geri Allen's "Drummer Song" finally is a fast-forward tribute to modern jazz: small explosions, sophisticated rhythms and licks, improvised group culminations, while "My Funny Valentine" is tactfully reduced to its famous melody and a chromatic bass line. Recorded live at Festival Sacrum Profanum in Krakow, Poland.