(Jellymould Jazz JM-JJ007. CD Review by Chris Parker)
‘Playing and listening to Hannes’ music is great – it is interesting and challenging, but also melody-driven and accessible’ is pianist Kit Downes’s comment on his experience as part of Austrian guitarist Hannes Riepler’s quintet on this, his debut album for the fledgling Jellymould Jazz label.
Riepler’s band is completed by Tom Challenger (tenor), bassist Ryan Trebilcock and drummer Jon Scott, and on the eight tunes he has composed for this recording they mesh perfectly, negotiating his bright, airy theme statements with precision and power, and swinging through their solo passages with verve and palpable enthusiasm.
Riepler himself is a neat, fleet but hard-driving soloist and his compositions are just complex enough to engage the brain as well as the ear, but straightforward enough to be immediately and enjoyably accessible, as Downes suggests.
Challenger proves to be a sensitive foil throughout, vigorous and gutsy where appropriate, but always tasteful and contained, building his solos as patiently as his leader does; Downes is resourceful and stylish, whether he’s bustling through the up-tempo material or slyly embellishing Riepler’s slower pieces; the rhythm section burns and propels as required – in short, this is attractive, intelligent jazz performed by an accomplished, fiercely interactive but sensitive and thoughtful band.