Jochen Rueckert ‘We make the rules’ (Whirlwind) 3/5

CDDG6T1-002.pdfThis marks the debut album on Whirlwind for German drummer, composer and leader Jochem Rueckhert and he has been New York resident since 1995, and is now an integral part of the jazz music scene there. Among others, Rueckhert has worked with Kurt Rosenwinkel, Seamus Blake and Sam Yahel. For this debut, he has enlisted tenorist Mark Turner who is very much in demand, electric guitarist Lage Lund and acoustic bassist Matt Penman. Overall, if the musicianship is excellent, then the compositions need to be refined and improved upon in order to sustain repeated listens and remain memorable. That said, there are some lovely understated melodies here and these include the pretty sounding ‘Saul Goodman’ with fine tenor work from Turner in unison with Lund. Meanwhile the opener ‘Eggshells’ hints at late 1960s Wayne Shorter in outlook from around the ‘Schizophrenia’ album period and is an intense number with an extended guitar solo and some impassioned tenor playing. One slight weakness as a whole is the tendency of guitar and tenor to perform together when the ensemble seems to work best with one or the other out. Leader Rueckhert excels on the polyrythmic ‘Yellow Button’ where once again Turner evokes early period Shorter on tenor. A promising start nonetheless.

Tim Stenhouse