Umlaut TSCD3 (umlautrecords.com)
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Just as French chefs added new ingredients to create nouvelle cuisine and other forward-looking fare, so a group like Die Hochstapler does so with its music on Within (Umlaut TSCD3 umlautrecords.com). The reason for the German name, translated as The Impostors, is that Italian bassist Antonio Borghini and German drummer/vibist Hannes Lingens live in Berlin where these two instant compositions were recorded. Meanwhile, the front line of alto saxophonist Pierre Borel and Louis Laurain, who contributes trumpet, bird calls and vocal sounds, are as French as Camembert. Although the lineup is consistent with contemporary jazz groups, the POMO mélange the quartet creates bounces along echoing Free Jazz, classic jazz, jazz-rock, bebop and touches of swing at various tempos without losing the linear thread. Often moving in and out of focus, each member is spotlighted. For instance, Borghini, responsible for bouncy, andante tracking throughout, has a string thumb pop and walking bass line feature on Part 2 backed by aviary cackles from the horns. On the same piece Lingens uses backbeats, ruffs and rim shots to harmonize with the others, who begin the piece with rhythmic hand clapping and later intensify the bop quotes from soloists. Leaving his aviary excursions to a minimum, Laurain usually expresses himself with half-valve intensity or ornate triplets, with quotes as likely to reference Dixieland warhorse When The Saints… as Ornette Coleman’s Focus on Sanity. Usually though his elevated peeps and plunger tones move in a linear fashion and dovetail into Borel’s reed expression. This is particularly notable during Part 1, when following a continuous drone of sax honks and brass triplets, the two slow the pace and for 60 seconds, minutely examine every tone variable possible. As for Borel, whether it’s speedy bebop riffs or hearty Jazz-Rock-like quotes, his flutter tonguing, honks and altissimo smears always lock into the overall groove, even if he has to project and thicken tongue slaps to prod bird-call squeaks into cohesion. It may have German and Italian spicing but overall Within becomes a perfect French dish.