Monday, December 1, 2014

Izabella Effenberg – Cuentame (2014)

Izabella Effenberg

Izabella Effenberg - vibraphone
with others

Cuentame

UNIT 4559





By Adam Baruch

This is the debut album by Polish vibraphonist/composer Izabella Effenberg, currently residing in Germany, recorded with an ensemble which includes Israeli (also resident in Germany) vocalist Efrat Alony and German players: harpist Maja Taube, multi-instrumentalist Florian Trubsbach, baritone saxophonist Norbert Emminger, bassist Markus Schieferdecker and drummer Jens Duppe. The album consists of nine compositions, four of which are her originals, one by Emminger and the remaining ones by German composers like Peter Fulda and others.

Effenberg, who is the only Polish female vibraphonist, presents here a suite-like cycle of complex compositions, which differ from each other and yet somehow make sense as a continuous whole. Although inevitably Jazz, the music carries a strong contemporary Classical influence and could be easily classified as Chamber Jazz, if such labeling makes any sense at all. It is unquestionably fundamentally European, with the strong aesthetic/sonoric elements of European Jazz overwhelmingly outweighing the American Jazz tradition. There are some World Music elements present as well, albeit mostly quite concealed. The overall atmosphere is fairly unique and wonderfully weird.

Of course all the musicians involved are hardcore professionals, so one should expect the perfect execution present herein, but at times the proceedings seem a bit over calculated, screaming for some more spontaneity. But of course these are personal musings and should not influence the overall excellence of the entire work. Effenberg plays some great vibes (pun intended) and I'd love to hear her live, which I hope will happen one day.

This is undoubtedly a very ambitious and bold debut, which offers no easy outings and no compromises, neither stylistically not intellectually. This music requires attentive listening and eschews unnecessary pleasantries, as all ambitious music should. Hopefully it will find its admirers among the listeners and serve as an important step in building Effenberg's future career. Well done Milady!

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