Christoph Siegrist: Welcome To The Blue World (2011)
Bassist Massimo Biolcati, best known for his work with guitar sensation Lionel Loueke, is the stabilizing force throughout the album. His bass hook on the album opener, "Columbus," serves as a signpost while others go exploring, and his exotic/hypnotic bass serves as the foundation during the first few minutes of the title track. Pianist Aruan Ortiz and drummer Richie Barshay are the chameleons in this group, blending in and playing the right roles at the right times. Ortiz moves effortlessly between liquid piano greetings and clean, mellow Rhodes work on "NWE," and he's at the center of one of the most interactive segments of music, during his solo, on "Layers." Barshay is equally comfortable wearing different hats, as demonstrated by his percussion and cymbal coloring on the title track and his ability to lay down the law at the outset of "Frelon Brun."
Siegrist shows a certain fondness for Miles Davis, as he includes two of the legendary trumpeter's compositions in the program, but his tone is rarely Davis-like. While both men eschew the upper register in favor of moodier, middle register lines, Siegrist tends to have a stretched sound that differs from Davis. Strangely enough, the most overt nod to Davis comes not with the two pieces he wrote, but with the opening minutes of the title track. Siegrist plays snake charmer, delivering moody, Davis-like lines, while Biolcati holds it together. "Frelon Brun" calls to the spirit of that transitional period when Davis' classic '60s quintet was on its way out and the trumpeter was moving on again, but Siegrist manages to make this his own.
"Half Nelson," which closes out the album, is delivered with spirit and precision, and, along with "The Third Ear," proves to be one Siegrist's most straight-ahead performances. While it ends the album in an odd way, since it's stylistically out of place next to this modern leaning material, it's a fine demonstration of Siegrist's ability to work in a different manner. Welcome To The Blue World proves to be a fine example of forward-looking jazz that signals the arrival of a new trumpet talent.
Track Listing: Columbus; NWE; Layers; Green Traveler; Frelon Brun; The Third Ear; Welcome To The Blue World; Half Nelson.
Personnel: Christoph Siegrist: trumpet; Mark Turner: tenor saxophone; Joshua Kwassman: alto saxophone (2, 7); Aruan Ortiz: piano, rhodes piano (2, 5); Massimo Biolcati: bass; Richie Barshay: drums, percussion.
Record Label: Fresh Sound New Talent