Thursday, July 28, 2016

Markus Stockhausen, Florian Weber, Alba

Trumpet-flugelmaster Markus Stockhausen shows us a fine burst of creative energy on his first collaborative album with pianist Florian Weber, Alba (ECM 2477). It's an ambient ECM extravaganza of evocative and energizing compositions by both artists.

The pieces have a haunting, unforgettable jolt to them. The playing is magnificent, with an effective division of labor between the two and the expansive ECM sound allowing the music to breathe freely. There are improvisations in the loose and open way the compositions are performed, again with lots of headroom and varying moods of impressionistic ECM jazz updated to Markus and Florian's vision of what can be done right now.

It is an album that sneaks up to you in its subtle curves and changing musical language.

It in the end is a stunner, if a sleeper. You must listen carefully to get what is underneath the ambience, but then those less musically acute will still find the moods conducive to a feeling of well-being. So you can put it on for visitors and not drive them out of the living room! Hurrah.


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