Norbert Stein

Die 5 Tage

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The first piece explodes in a furious drum duet, intensely rhythmic, ultimately joined by the blaring, swaggering 15-strong band, all of which promises an exciting album. Unfortunately, it stops right about there. German saxophonist/composer Norbert Stein assembled this project but couldn't seem to make up his mind whether the composition was headed into freer or more traditional territory and ends up being unsatisfactory on either end of the scale. The weaknesses show up when the group explores some abstract improvisatory areas, as on the second track, or when a feeble attempt at funk beats is introduced. The former sounds like what the reality likely is -- a fairly mainstream band "dipping its toes" into the avant-garde -- and as for the latter, well, they just don't got the funk. Things work better on the fourth "tag" (day), where a straight-ahead chart with delightful flute flourishes leads to a solid series of post-bop solos, including the screaming alto sax of Gerhard Veeck. Here again, the rhythm section is allowed to cook on its own terms and acquits itself very well. Unfortunately, the suite ends with a clockwork structure, where the tick-tock rhythms are overlaid with a series of horn clusters to a stultifying effect. Stein's bands seem to aspire to something on the order of the Vienna Art Orchestra, but tend to take themselves way too seriously without having an equivalently serious amount of things to say. The potential was there but only achieved sporadically.

Track Listing

Title/Composer Performer Time
1
8:33
2
8:35
3
5:38
4
8:12
5
7:39
blue highlight denotes track pick