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Leo Lab (057)

Margarete Huber, Margreth Kammerer, Alex Nowith, and Wolfgang Ritthoff, vocals; Ernst-Ludwig Petrowsky, sax and clarinet; Joachim Gies, sax and bass clarinet; Jurgen Kupke, clarinet; Rudi Mahall, bass clarinet; Elisabeth Bohm-Christi, bassoon and double bassoon; Axel Dorner, trumpet; Thomsa Wiedermann, trombone; Aleks Kolkowski and Wolfram Korr, violin; Thomas Bohm-Christi and Gesine Conrad, cello; Matthias Bauer, double bass and voice; Gerold Genfler and Hartwig Nickola, double bass; Bardo Hennig and Andrea Neumann, piano

Betcha there will never be anything out on Leo Lab that you'll want to send your grandparents come the next holiday. This colorfully tweaked big-band lineup nonetheless has its roots in the large ensemble Jazz of thirties. Can't read the German liner notes, but I imagine they rightfully praise the wacko outfit for anticipating the state of big-band Jazz come 2050. They wisely plant themselves with one foot in comprehensible harmonies and melodies and the other in bizarre textural experimentation. Even the most twisted stuff, though, is so powerful and direct that it can be understood by those who can't even spell avant-garde. Given how wildly colorful the music becomes when handed over to a full twenty eccentric players, maybe size really is everything.

by Dave McElfresh

New Sounds - CD Reviews March 2000