Recommended: Max Frankl – “Fernweh”


Max Frankl - "Fernweh"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.

Available at:  eMusic | Bandcamp | Amazon


StoriesAnd 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).