Could somebody please explain why this group has chosen the name die Enttäuschung -- the Disappointment? The only ones who could be disappointed are those who came to know trumpeter Axel Dörner from his ultra-reductionist music of the very late '90s. The widely swinging free jazz contained herein could come as a shock. That said, only the most cold-hearted of avant-garde purists will resist the groove of these tunes. This quartet began as a Thelonious Monk tribute group. They recorded this eponymous album in the summer of 1997 (a debut two-LP set had been self-released the previous year). It remained on the shelf until the German label Grob stepped in five years later. The production values are of a vintage jazz record: warm, analog, lightly dirty, probably from the smoke in the club if you get the drift -- all the reasons why bop fans still hold on to their LPs. The rhythm section of bassist Jan Roder and drummer Uli Jenneßen have been recorded center, with soloists Dörner and Rudi Mahall, respectively, panned right and left. Half of the repertoire consists of Monk tunes, "Brilliant Corners" and "Bright Mississippi" being the best known. The original compositions come from Dörner and Mahall, following an extension of the pianist's vocabulary and art as a melodist. Often there is no distinction to make between covers and originals -- the guys experiment as much on both, and pieces from both categories swing as if die Enttäuschung is the genuine jazz band from hell. Mahall's sleazy bass clarinet gives "Brilliant Corners" a much sweatier persona, while elsewhere the trumpeter integrates his sound-breath explorations into the energy of free bop. A comparison to the Montréal-based trio Évidence (another avant-garde jazz tribute to Monk, led by Jean Derome) is in order, although the two groups approach the material from different angles.
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AllMusic Review by François Couture