Franz Koglmann Septet

Fruits of Solitude
ezz-thetics 1005

Usually mistakenly linked by non-Europeans to a Third Stream, retro West Coast-Cool style, Vienna based flugelhornist/trumpeter Franz Koglmann’s playing, composing and arrangements are joined to these genres by a very fragile thread. The obfuscation has come about because since he began recording more than 40 years ago, Koglmann’s work has been characterized by form as much as content; devising situations which don’t discard melody, but additionally invests program with nuanced swing with a fortified core. Among the 11 magisterial selections highlighted here careful listening determines that the brass player’s refined musical pastels suggest worldly orchestral arrangements of East Coasters such as Teddy Charles and Gigi Gryce as much as certified West coast icons, Shorty Rogers and Jimmy Giuffre saluted on Fruits of Solitude.

Arranging the music to feature so-called orchestral instruments, banishing percussion and overlapping the results in a sfumato-like blend, Koglmann exposes polyphonic voices while the tunes move chromatically. Predictably Giuffre’s “Finger Snapper”, Richard Twardzik’s “Yellow Tango” and “Martians Don't Go Home Anymore”, which riffs on one of Rogers' most famous song titles, are the most rhythmically oriented tracks. The bass work of Peter Herbert, who played with the likes of Bobby Previte as well as in notated music, creates the necessary swing, along with the requisite snapping fingers on the Giuffre piece. Still that one also features some jagged cello lines from Attila Pasztor and cultivated blends along with the other instruments as the theme repeats. Besides a blowsy Ben Webster-like tenor saxophone solo from Daniele D'Agaro, who has excessive Jazz credentials, “Martians Don't Go Home Anymore”, is balanced by vamps from the trumpeter and bassoonist Milan Turkovic, who usually plays in symphonic settings. Also notable is how individual instruments are introduced at varied tempos and pitches. Ground bass moors the Twardzik track for instance, with the head recapped from flutter-tongued trumpet and D'Agaro’s clarinet appropriately harmonized and moving.

Refined sonic pointillism characterizes many of the other arrangements with further scene setting often created via slurred textures propelled by Koglmann’s flugelhorn, the French horn of John Clark, who has worked with bands as different as Carla Bley’s and B.B. King’s; hippo snorts or chortles from bass clarinet, bassoon and the oboe of Mario Arcari, who also moves among Jazz, Pop and notated music. Some of the resulting blends as on “Fruits of Solitude I” may suggest embellishments on chamber works. Yet when the septet opens up on Koglmann compositions such as “Garden with Blue Terrace” and “Salut Solal” the regularized motion, encompassing tremolo horn vibrations includes both a groove created by woody bass strokes, plus sharpened solos from velvety flugelhorn, pinched clarinet and oboe modulations which also confirm Jazz freedom.

As indefinable as it is notable, Fruits of Solitude substantiates Koglmann’s mature talent.

—Ken Waxman

Track Listing: 1. Fruits of Solitude II 2. Martians Don't Go Home Anymore 3. For Max 4. Untitled 5. Garden with Blue Terrace 6. Salut Solal 7. Fruits of Solitude I 8. Finger Snapper 9. Leopard Lady 10. Fruits of Solitude III 11. Yellow Tango

Personnel: Franz Koglmann (flugelhorn, trumpet); John Clark (French horn); Daniele D'Agaro (clarinet, bass clarinet, tenor saxophone); Mario Arcari (oboe, English horn); Milan Turkovic (bassoon): Attila Pasztor (cello); Peter Herbert (bass)