Nils Wogram Odd and Awkward Review

BBC Review

...there are some pretty tricky charts here, flawlessly executed, with plenty of solo...

Peter Marsh 2002

Trombonist Nils Wogram is pretty much unknown over here but has made a name for himself on the Eurojazz circuit, and this double CD is a fine showcase of his talent as both a player and composer.

CD one is given over to Wogram's sextet, an all brass affair plus drums featuring New York luminaries trumpeter Cong Vu and Chris Speed on tenor and clarinet. The lack of bass or a chordal instrument allows Wogram to explore a wide range of timbres and voicings for his angular, complex compositions; there are some pretty tricky charts here, flawlessly executed, with plenty of solo space for all concerned. Wogram favours a heavily vocalised approach to his instrument, growls, muting and split toned multiphonics alternate with literally breathtaking (for him anyway) solo flights. Steffen Schorn's bass clarinet and baritone saxophone is given a lot of room and quite rightly too, as he's a major find, capable of Jimmy Guiffre style lyricism or ferocious blurtings worthy of Peter Brotzmann.

Wogram's writing has the same kind of relentless intricacy favoured by Steve Coleman, though occasionally he allows himself some space to explore less frenetic pastures such as on "Mayamalaragula" (featuring a gorgeous Speed tenor solo),"Spring Pt 2" and the minimalist riffing of "Ganamurti") with delightful results. CD2 adds Henning Sieverts' bass and the piano of Simon Nabatov. Nabatov is a much undersung player, whose mix of overripe classicisms and Cecil Taylor derived rhythmic punch fits in well here. Drummer Jochen Ruckert is superb throughout; swinging, funkier than a barrelful of monkeys and razor sharp on Wogram's assymetric heads. His rapport with Sieverts and the soloists (particularly Wogram and Schorn) borders on telepathy. A name to watch for, certainly, as is Wogram's; if you liked Dave Holland's early outings with Steve Coleman, you'll love this. Recommended.

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