Category Archives: CD-Reviews

Review a CD / album

CD of the Month: The Ed Bickert Trio – Out of the Past

The CD of the month (which means it’s the CD that is running all the time in my car) is at the moment from Canadian guitar player Ed Bickert. Pretty unknown to me until I accidentally stumbled over a video of him on Youtube.  I found the following  video when I looked for Jazz guitarists playing a Telecaster.

I thought this is real cool stuff and so I started to listen and to read about Ed Bickert. His style and approach to play is quite unique but very melodious and harmonic and I think there is never any wrong or strange note in his playing.

I found the album “Out of the Past” and since several weeks this music is my inspiration and companion. The CD has never dropped out of the CD player in my car. The sound of the guitar is soft and mellow but the harmonic ideas are immense. The album was originally released in 1976 (at a time where e.g. Pat Martino released his album Joyous Lake, an album that really captures the spirit of that period) and it feels like it is fallen from a total different era into the 70′s.

The music is cool and relaxed, very soft and full of harmony, but the band has a grip, you just don’t feel it right away.  Bassist Don Thompson and drummer Terry Clarke are like a perfect match for Ed and it feels like they know each other very well. I’ve read that “this group had worked together extensively backing visiting American jazz soloists in Toronto clubs”.

Personal favorites of the CD are
- Soft Winds: With a great 4×4 part with guitar and drums
- Deep in a Dream: A great and beautiful ballad
- Skating in Central Park: Another perfect ballad

If you like the CD and Ed’s style of playing then please look around on the internet. Even if he never became famous like Pat Martino or Jim Hall, he has a great and loyal fan base especially in Canada where he is really admired, and he found another fan in Switzerland.

HUK’s Eleven: Rescued from the Drawer

Rescued from the Drawer

 

HUK’s Eleven is a band from the Interlaken area here in Switzerland that has been put together to play and record arrangements written by trumpet player Hansueli Krähenbühl. Some years ago he started to arrange Jazz standards for a wind section of 5-6 players (trumpets, trombones and saxophones) plus a rhythm section for workshop sessions. Since those arrangements spend most of their time in the drawer the idea came up to rescue them from the drawer and make a record. Finally in January 2017 a recording studio has been organized and a band (four saxophonists, two trumpet players, one trombone player plus a rhythm section with piano, guitar, bass and drums) was compiled to produce this record.

Some of the finest Swiss jazz musicians are lining up on this CD including Rolf and Sandro Häsler,  Vincent Lachat and Jérôme De Carli.

The selected tunes are all well known Jazz standards. The CD contains Cole Porter songs like “Love for Sale” or “You’d Be so Nice to Come Home To”,  George Gershwin’s “Soon”,  “It Might as Well Be Spring” from Richard Rogers and “Days of Wine and Roses” from Henry Mancini.

These great melodies make it rather easy to listen and to focus on the details of the arrangements and the solos. The band produces a full and complete sound almost like a big band, but it gives also space and freedom for each and everyone to shine as a soloist. The first song “Lady Bird” shows the direction:  a very well arranged melody, followed by solos including accompaniment of the band. That is basically the pattern on this album, the melody is arranged for the whole band and is followed by two or three solo choruses where each musician gets a chance to play a solo.

My favorite songs  on the CD are “Lady Bird”, “Tanga” and “It Might as Well Be Spring”. “Tanga” comes with a nice Latin groove and “It Might as Well Be Spring” has a very nice even a little bit greasy saxophone section, but I like that.

The rhythm section is playing very well together, piano and guitar give each other the necessary space and Stephan Urwyler on guitar is given extra room to improvise multiple times. Not bad for a band with so many horns.

So overall, I like the CD, the arrangements are nice and easy, very well played, the sound of the CD is also very well mixed and balanced, so a clear recommendation from me.

The band plans to play in public, but I have no dates yet, but I guess the Jazz summer will have a spot for this band.

You will find some of the songs on YouTube. Here is a link to “Lady Bird”:

 

Here is the complete line-up:

  • Hansueli Krähenbühl – trumpet, fluegelhorn
  • Sandro Häsler – trumpet, fluegelhorn
  • Rolf Häsler – soprano saxophone, alto saxophone
  • Fredi Krähenbühl – tenor saxophone, flute
  • Ivo Prato - tenor saxophone
  • Cornel Studach - baritone saxophone
  • Vincent Lachat - trombone
  • Stephan Urwyler - guitar
  • Jérôme De Carli - piano
  • Hans Ermel - bass
  • Roland Bürki – drums

And finally a playlist if you want to listen to or order the CD: