Julian and Roman Wasserfuhr ‘Running’ (ACT) 3/5

Now in their mid-twenties, the Wasserfuhr brothers debuted on ACT in 2006 and this new album is their fourth with something of a melodic ECM influence to it and they have become stalwarts of the Cologne jazz scene. Trumpeter Julian Wasserfuhr is a relaxed player very much in the Chet Baker mould rather than the hard blowing variety while pianist/keyboardist brother Roman takes care of adding layers of sound, and this is reinforced by the use of cello and violin plus clarinet on selected numbers. If overall the approach is in parts a tad too laid back, there is nonetheless a real zest to the more compelling numbers such as ‘Adonis’ which manages to both convey a sense of urgency while retaining a marked lyricism. The mainly original set works best on the smaller combo combinations such as on the largely piano trio based ‘Rocholz-Korosak’ on which the trumpet only enters two minutes in. Of the standards, neither are obvious terrain for a jazz formation, nor attempted in a conventional manner. Lennon and McCartney’s ‘Nowhere man’ is taken at a particularly slow tempo with the trumpeter gradually laying out the melody and it is only when the strings are introduced that the tune becomes familiar to the listener. A dreamy and sedate version of the Who’s ‘Behind blue eyes’ is certainly a surprise inclusion, but a pleasant one at that. The compositions of the quartet are certainly promising, but need to be executed with more bite to retain the listener’s attention with the bustling piece ”Bachelor (over the car look)’ being a notable exception. That said, with a variety of approaches on offer here, there are plenty of new avenues for the quartet to explore on future albums with the guest vocal appearance on ‘Go on’ of David Rynkowski an additional channel to investigate in moderation. Tim Stenhouse

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