Tuesday, September 3, 2019

Mount Meander – Live In Berlin (2019)

Mount Meander

Kārlis Auziņš – saxophones
Lucas Leidinger - piano
Tomo Jacobson - bass
Thomas Sauerborn - drums

 Live In Berlin


By Adam Baruch

This is the second album by the international Jazz quartet Mount Meander, which comprises of Latvian saxophonist Kārlis Auziņš, German pianist Lucas Leidinger, Polish bassist Tomo Jacobson and German drummer Thomas Sauerborn. The album presents eight original compositions all attributed collectively to the quartet members, which were recorded live in a Berlin Jazz club.

The music is a continuation of the formula introduced on the quartet's debut album, which offers a series of conversations between the musicians based around fragmented melodic themes, but mostly freely improvised. It is however much more coherent and offers a wonderful continuity in comparison to the previous effort, which was somewhat hesitant, obviously marking the early days of this musical adventure. It is a wonderful example of contemporary Improvised Music/Free Jazz at its best. It is minimalist and restrained, completely non-aggressive and highly cooperative, but allows for highly expressive soloing by the individual musicians.

All four members of the quartet contribute sublime performances throughout the duration of the album, but it is difficult to ignore the stunning contributions by Auziņš, who reaches an emotional apex equal to the great Masters of the genre. His fluidity and inventiveness are absolutely incredible. But the rest of the quartet is definitely up to par with the saxophone magic, each one of them in a different way; Leidinger lays sheets of atmospheric vistas and his delicate touches in the quiet passages are all masterful, Jacobson keeps the pulse of the music steady and gives it an anchor without which it would disintegrate and finally Sauerborn ornaments the rhythmic layer more intuitively than chronometrically. In short this is a magic performance.

Overall this is definitely one of the best European Avant-Garde Jazz albums that landed on my desk so far in 2019. It offers a hope and a beacon for Avant-Garde Jazz and Improvised Music, which sadly more often than not tend to fall apart and become more radical and chaotic than need be in an attempt to try and be original. One can only hope that more music of this quality will be made by these young musicians soon. Hats off Gentlemen!

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