Fraktal’s debut album title, ‘Polarisation of Light’, has a rather scientific ring to it. It could lead listeners to the false assumption of being a sterile, heavy and brainy Jazz album. Where its protagonists, fresh out of school, present what they learned, deliberately avoiding to sound pleasing or accessible. But Swiss-born bandleader, composer, arranger and guitarist Jan Herzog presents his music in a genuine lively and stylish fashion. His compositions drive from the strong performances of his bandmates, who know how to make the most out of their individual showcases, yet manage to appear as a strong and unified group.
Herzog never seems to run out of ideas of how to set his players, or how to tell a story. Forming intimate and fragile instrumental settings, that wind to waves of sound and groove, drawn by a magnificent large ensemble. Simple and straight forward rhythmic and harmonic arrangements alter into complex, entangled tapestries of sound design. Above all, the beautiful and crystal voice of Andrea Nydegger and Christoph Mahnig’s well-tempered trumpet.
Furthermore, Herzog doesn’t miss the chance to prove himself as a fantastic guitar player with remarkable instrumental skills. His solo adventures are another picture book of prolific melodic invention. Fraktal is yet another great example of the admirable Swiss Jazz Scene. ‘Polarisation of Light’ shows a deep understanding of the possibilities of modern jazz.