Epileptical West – Live in Coimbra
Johan Berthling (b), Kjell Nordeson (d), Magnus Broo (t), Martin Küchen (ts), Mats Äleklint (tb), Mattias Ståhl (vib),
Also Available on iTunes
Martin Küchen is naive and desperate, and maybe only because of that one might feel that each of his albums has a message. If this message may seem political, its sense is profoundly about human undertakings, and “Epileptical West”, recorded live in Coimbra, Portugal, during the Jazz ao Centro festival, is no exception. Born in Sweden with a German father with a mixed background , he’s known not only for his innovative saxophone playing (going from the soprano to the baritone, here centered on the alto) and his ear-catching compositions, but also for his very critical statements regarding the Israeli and the American policies in relation to Palestine and the Palestinians. Music is, for the Angles leader, a medium for and to itself, but also for a clearance of thought and for the in- and outlook of the world – and therefore it can be metaphysical devoted to denounce the “global lie” covering “the terror society of the individual in which we live”. With a jazz oriented musical education, but former dedications to rock and klezmer, Küchen became interested in African music, specially the one he discovered in Guinea, and in non-idiomatic, free improvised music, a field in which he developed astonishing new techniques. All those experiences are reflected in the music we find here: it’s jumpy, polirhythmic and with a refined world music accent, somehow remembering Fela Kuti’s Afro-Beat, and it’s very melodic, with phrasings you can sing along. The format goes from the most energetic free bop, sustained by the always unquiet propulsion work ofered by Johan Berthling on the double bass and Kjell Nordeson on the drums, and with a powerful blowing section completed by trumpeter Magnus Broo and trombonist Mats Aleklint, to the abstract situations, either delicate or near-chaos, in which the remarkable vibraphonist Mattias Stahl finds space to shine like only himself can do. From this results something that makes you tap your feet and at the same time use your head – a rarity nowadays.