Parisien – Peirani – Schaerer – Wollny – Out of Land
(ACT 9832-2. CD review by Brian Marley)
On the ACT website this quartet is referred to as a supergroup. That doesn’t inspire confidence; many so-called supergroups turn out to be less than the sum of their parts. But on this occasion the description is accurate. The linchpin of the enterprise is master accordionist Vincent Peirani. He’s played with Emile Parisien (soprano saxophone), Michael Wollny (piano) and Andreas Schaerer (vocals) in a wide variety of instrumental configurations and contexts, and ACT, knowing a good thing when they hear it, or even when they suspect they’re going to hear it, have recorded many of them for release on CD.
The Out of Land quartet rehearsed for three days prior to this concert recording, bringing to the table just enough in the way of composed material to get things going. Being open to possibilities within elastic parameters is evident throughout. Sun Ra would probably call it discipline. I should also say this is one of the most joyous recordings I’ve heard in many a year, a wonderfully spontaneous outpouring of creativity.
Vocalist Andreas Schaerer is the quartet’s wild card. Not only can he do everything singers traditionally do, he can also beatbox and emulate various instruments, often at the same time. He scats, is a sensitive interpreter of lyrics, and moreover, unusual for a singer, he never grandstands. Consider, for example, The Big Wig (ACT, 2017), in which his group Hildegard Lernt Fliegen (Hildegard learns to fly) was expanded to gargantuan proportions by the 66-piece orchestra of the Lucerne Festival Academy. Bombast would seem to be unavoidable in such circumstances, but he got the balance just right. That rightness can be heard here, too, especially on his composition Ukuhambra where his beatboxing and scat solo, though undoubtedly virtuosic, fits snugly into the musical flow and feels wholly appropriate, no mere novelty turn.
Players drop in and out of the mix as required, and the soundstage never feels crowded even when they’re generating collective heat. Parisien’s exciting solo on Wollny’s composition Kabinett V demonstrates why he’s so well thought of on the European jazz scene, and elsewhere Wollny and Peirani get ample space in which to shine. But it’s the musicians’ subtle interplay that grabs the listener’s attention and makes Out of Land such a strong release. Let’s hope there’s more to come from this exceptional quartet.