Tuesday, March 30, 2021

Christoph Beck - Tartaros (2019)

Christoph Beck

Christoph Beck - tenor saxophone, bass clarinet
Patrick Bebelaar -piano
Bodek Janke - drums, tabla


DML 038

By Adam Baruch

This is the third album as a leader by young German saxophonist / composer Christoph Beck, recorded in a trio setting with pianist Patrick Bebelaar and Polish (resident in Berlin) drummer Bodek Janke. The album presents twelve original compositions, all by Beck.

The music is mostly melody based and offers a wide and diverse range of moods and tempi, presenting a highly skilled compositional ability, rather than sketchy themes, which often serve as basis for Jazz improvisations. It offers a lot of space and freedom, venturing into pretty Free Form passages, but remains well-structured and harmonically sound at all times.

The bass-less trio handles the music brilliantly, with Beck alternating between tenor saxophone and bass clarinet, Bebelaar playing superbly and handling the job of providing not only harmony but adding excellent soloing and a bass layer, and finally Janke, who cements the music together and pushes it forward with his robust and highly imaginative percussive work. The album holds a lot wonderful surprises, like the tabla parts played by Janke or the superb bass clarinet parts, which are deeply emotional and atmospheric. All this offers a truly delightful musical journey, which happens rather rarely, and is definitely worth embracing.

I admit of not being aware of Beck’s work earlier (my loss of course) and this album comes as a revelation of his abilities and talents. I’ll have to dig out his earlier work as it definitely seems worthwhile, now that I have discovered him. Overall this is a beautiful piece of music, from start to finish, which shows how inventive, artistic and sophisticated European Jazz can be at its best. Beck is definitely a musician worth following and the album highly recommended to all Jazz lovers around the world!

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