When I think of gravity, I would think of ‘heavy’ and ‘serious’ in the two most used senses of the word but from now on, we can add the new excellent album by Julian & Roman Wasserfuhr!
Once again the ACT label have got their hands on a couple of up and coming stars in Julian Wasserfuhr (trumpet and flugelhorn) and Roman Wasserfuhr (piano, celesta, synth) who have teamed up with a couple of old ACT stalwarts, Lars Danielsson (bass, cello and guitar) and Wolfgang Haffner (drums) who both had Signature Edition CD releases, the 2006 series which celebrated label boss Siggi Loch’s 50th anniversary in the business; together with guitarists Ulf Wakenius and Nguyen Le’ (the later having just released a new CD, Songs Of Freedom).
And talking of 2006, that’s when the Wasserfuhr’s debut album came out, Remember Chet (that’ll be Baker of course) when Julian was just 17! A bit of a talent then? Well, when you get compared to fellow countryman Till Br??nner that’s a bit of an accolade in itself. And for an added bonus, his elder brother is equally accomplished on the piano lending an almost telepathic relationship to their jazz creations.
All but 4 of the 13 tracks here are written by the brothers themselves and one of the best is the opening track, ‘Twinkle Eyes’ that has such a sweet melody by Julian it feels like we should be singing along to a well known song. But like the rest of the album, it’s not just a one man show as really this album could be called a quartet group – very cinematic and lovely.
Now, if you’ve spot ‘Englishman In New York’ on the track list as originally performed by The Police, don’t let that put you off. It’s done in a mellow Vijay Iyer style and for would be mixtape compilers, it’s a bit of a classic (both brothers showing what they can do; not so sure about Bert Kaempfert’s ‘L.O.V.E’.
The album is producer by Haffner so he gets a track, ‘Some Other Time’ that goes to emotional diner jazz depths (but in a good way) and not to be outdone, Danielsson’s track ‘If The Rain Comes’ is another one that could be a film/TV theme that’s after a late night jazz ‘Taxi’ sound.
Of the originals, ‘Ramos Us’ is another ‘cinematic’ conflict of Julian’s cool and Roman’s pace with some classy chill out lines; even Chet like? Like ‘Blue Desert’ and the uptempo (provided by Haffner), ‘Branca’ and ‘Midnight Walk’ before the title track brings us down to earth again.
Emotion, melody, lyricism and drama so readily and repeatedly come to mind listening to Gravity, I’d say that since they released Upgraded In Gothenburg a couple of years ago, now with numerous concert performances behind them, I think we can safely say that this is their most accomplished album yet and it’s another winner as ACT cement their ‘Label Of The Year’ foundations.
Finally, for those who know their art, the cover is by Ai Weiwei and whatever your stand on Chinese politics, it’s good news today that the world press is reporting that his wife has visied him and say that he’s well. Obviously, let’s hope there’s more good news to come on this one.
Reviewed: Julian & Roman Wasserfuhr – Gravity (ACT) Cat. No. ACT 9507-2 Release date: 9th May 2011 Artwork by Ai Weiwei Teahouse, 2009.
1. Twinkle Eyes (4:52)
2. Englishman In New York (Andy Sumner) (5:35)
3. Interlude (1:28)
4. L.O.V.E. (5:17)
5. Ramos Us (3:59)
6. Fool’s Paradise (6:13)
7. Branca (4:18)
8. Gravity (2:49)
9. Midnight Walk (3:30)
10. If The Rain Comes (4:10)
11. Blue Desert (4:49)
12. Some Other Time (3:54)
13. Theo (2:48)