Can an acoustic post-bop CD be influenced by electric jazz-fusion? Absolutely -- and Matthias Frey's Liquid Crystal is a prime example. Although this 1994 date is acoustic-oriented, it gives the impression that the German pianist has spent a lot of time listening to fusionists like Return to Forever, Weather Report, Pat Metheny, and the Yellowjackets (as well as Chick Corea's acoustic groups and the acoustic pianism of Keith Jarrett). It isn't that Frey and sidemen Büdi Siebert (sax, flute, clarinet), Ramesh Shotham (who plays traditional South Indian percussion instruments), Christoph Haberer (drums), and Wolfgang Tiepold (cello) inundate the listener with rock or funk rhythms -- Liquid Crystal is very much an acoustic post-bop date. But in terms of composition and melody, Frey doesn't hide his affection for Weather Report, Metheny, or Corea's Return to Forever any more than he hides his affection for Jarrett. While it's important to know who has influenced the acoustic pianist's charming, reflective compositions, one should realize that Frey is his own person and that ultimately, he sounds like no one but himself. Released in Germany on the Inakustic label, this rewarding CD offers liner notes in both German and English and reached some North American stores as an import.
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AllMusic Review by Alex Henderson