Marco Boettger Quartet ‘En Avril’ (QFTF) 2/5

Non of the jazz genres and traditions, is as traditional as “Gipsy Jazz” or “Manouche”. The genre follows non-negotiable guidelines for sound, repertoire and instrumentation. Countless records worship the dominant father figure, Django Reinhardt – his songs, skills and style. Gipsy Jazz always nurtures its origins and history. Making the scene appear sealed off and unapproachable for outsiders.

Marco Boettger’s strongest creative asset thus, seems to be his origin. His life and career leave zero assumption for entering the said genre. Drawing his skill set from heavy metal and rock music, Boettger developed an interest for European guitar giants, like Reinhardt or Lagrene and felt drawn to the genre.

“En Avril” is Boettger’s second album as a leader. Featuring eight originals and a version of Clifford Brown’s “Joy Spring”.

Original compositions on a Gypsi Jazz guitar album? A very bold and disorderly move. Boettger’s compositions follow a strong head-solo-head regime, with occasional intros and interludes. His melodies are catchy and delightful and show a strong feel for songful expression. Very consonant and harmonically dull, they fail to entertain over the course of an entire long-play album. Boettger and Oeler, the main soloist, both miss the opportunity to develop melodic ideas. Making the solo spots appear formulated and monotone. Oeler on accordion becomes unbearable to listen to. Lacking harmonic foresight and rhythmic depth both in his solos and comping. He appears as an unnecessary asset of a well-attuned trio.

Overall “En Avril” sounds clumsy and stiff. Bearing no interesting rhythmic or harmonic intentions and ignoring all possibilities of dynamic expression. At least the artwork can stand the competition as to the rest of QFTF’s catalogue.