Michael Janisch – Paradigm Shift
(Whirlwind Recordings WR4676. 2 CD set. CD review by Mike Collins)
The core of this double CD release from Michael Janisch is a live performance by a quintet of seemingly unlimited potential. Recorded at London’s Pizza Express Jazz Club after an extensive tour, on this evidence it must have been a truly memorable evening.
The mainly international quintet includes Argentinian keys man and Esperanza Spalding sideman, Leo Genovese; Americans Jason Palmer and drummer Colin Stranahan; UK based reeds man Paul Booth and Whirlwind boss Janisch on bass duties. The two discs capture first Janisch’s Paradigm Suite and then a set of originals, one from each the band’s member.
Disc Two: Mike’s Mosey might, on its own, make it into a few ‘best of year lists’. Crash, a Palmer original, towards the end of the set finds the band in full cry. The racing post-bop theme with surging stabs, horns in close harmony, gives way to blistering swing with Palmer quoting Giant Steps before letting fly. The rhythm section accelerate and decelerate giving Palmer, Booth and Genovese scope to burn at varying tempos. It’s hair-raising, exhilarating stuff capturing the fizzing live energy.
There’s more to this session however than a well recorded live set from a quintet at the top of their game and letting it all hang out. The live recording session was some four years ago and, after the distraction of other projects and running a record label, Janisch worked on the post production with live electronics wizard and trumpeter Alex Bonney, adding both effects to some of the duo and solo interludes in the live performance and some additional material. The result is 90 minutes of hugely varied music.
Janisch’s suite progresses from spacy effects laden intro to outro, via a series of wonky grooves, looping vamps, rocky electro thrash, crunching, spiky, funky riffs occasionally spinning of into free-er improvised sections. The vibe is dark and intense. Palmer and Booth are consistently inventive, building and sustaining tension over carpets of rhythm and texture form the rest of the band. The longer second disc is equally varied. Genovese’s Charcaraca is like a suite in itself, open sections punctuated by collective hubbub and recurring themes; Janisch’s The JJ I knew is structured as a conversation between bass and the band and after the tumult of Crash, Booth’s Awakening dissolves some of the tensions with a more overtly melodic, flowing theme that develops its own driving momentum.
Paradigm Shift is bursting with ideas and potential directions and a powerful music statement from Janisch and his quintet.
Mike Collins is a pianist and writer based in Bath, who runs the jazzyblogman site. Twitter @jazzyblogman
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