Mar 25 2015
Max Frankl has a nifty new album out. Fernweh sees him switching between acoustic, electric and classical guitars with a seamless fluidity, to where the variations provide the album depth without causing any risk to cohesion. His last album, Stories (with his Francis Drake trio), displayed a nice lyricism, especially in the moodier colors of the spectrum. His newest has him raising the temperature with more abandon. The result is a wider range of expressionism, with the byproduct of greater definition to the moodier pieces by way of contrast.
The dreamy melody of “Zurich” keeps the song drifting peacefully along, but a switch to electric guitar on “Aufbrechen” not only increases the tempo, but transitions the sound from a Nordic serenity to a contemporary sheen. It’s an interesting scene change that works far better than one might assume beforehand. However, that Frankl’s quartet, mid-song, shifts back to a Nordic serenity (and an associated shift back to acoustic guitar), it brings the album into an entirely new focus… a sense that the unpredictable is to expected and that any outbound flight is likely to come with a return home.
Some tracks, like “Copy/Paste,” scoot right along, juxtaposing motions of short intervals with solos that surge ahead with longer strokes. Other tracks, like “80’s,” are constructed like a jigsaw puzzle, where the precise mathematical construction yields seriously vivid imagery. “Schweben” hints at a groove while letting the soloists go wandering, whereas “Second Thoughts” brings some heat and structure in a blue-rock-jazz hybrid.
Plenty here to like. Definitely a nice option for the jazz guitar fan who likes their guitarist to hit some unexplored horizons.
Your album personnel: Max Frankl (acoustic, electric & classical guitars), Reto Suhner (soprano & alto saxes, alto clarinet), Dominique Girod (bass) and Claudio Strüby (drums).
Released on Unit Records.
Jazz from the Zurich, Switzerland scene.
And definitely check out Frankl’s 2011 recording, Stories, recorded by his Francis Drake trio. It was one of the better albums to come out in 2011. I recapped it briefly back then, which you can read here (LINK).