All sorts of jazz, free jazz and improv. Never for money, always for love.
For listeners who place Martin Küchen on the far abstract end of the improvised music spectrum, the saxophonist’s Exploding Customer will prompt a reassessment. A quartet with trumpeter Tomas Hallonsten, bassist Benjamin Quigley and drummer Kjell Nordeson, EC plays jazz unabashedly.
On Live At Tampere Jazz Happening, their second album, Küchen writes persuasively in a number of idioms – everything from second-line stomps to tangy Middle East-tinged themes that call Carlo Actis Dato to mind, and soul-baring Ayleresque dirges.
On tenor, Küchen has an appealing Sheppish rasp, which also translates
well on alto; the big sound he has on the higher horn is impressive. His
cohorts bring much to each of the nine crisply rendered tunes, only two
of which clock in over seven minutes, which keeps the set moving.
Hallonsten has an encyclopedic knowledge of the jazz trumpet tradition, but he also knows not to lean too hard on the references.
Quigley and Nordeson are a fine tandem, as the bassist provides rock-solid time and clearly delineates the cadences, allowing Nordeson to toss off flurries of fills without dissipating their unified forward movement.
The most intriguing aspect of the set is how Küchen mixes probing, even stark material with the fun stuff in roughly equal measure without coming off as calculated.
Chalk it up to Exploding Customer’s energy and esprit de corps.
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