Using baseline music from the 16th through the 19th century, acoustic bassist Ilg, guitarist Wolfgang Muthspiel, and drummer Steve Arguelles shape these themes into contemporary jazz vehicles, not as fusion or even fuzak, but as springboards to improvise and give these romantic to classical pieces new life and meaning. They succeed pretty well, as Muthspiel's acoustic, legato electric, or hard-edged guitar expressions consistently get off with urging from Ilg and punctuation from the unsung Arguelles. The earliest period piece is the traditional Dutch/English song "Jetzund Bricht Die Nacht Herein" and is also the most updated, with synthesized calliope sounds as an intro to an urgent upbeat ostinato bass under a slight Afro-Cuban rock beat. The guitarists steely solo and riff noise coda marks this piece as thoroughly techno. Adam Krieger's "Nun Sich Der Tag Geendet Hat" is swung hard in neo-bop fashion. Moving to the 17th century is a quirky, funky take on "Schlaf Kindlein, Schlaf" where Muthspiel holds electrified tension without really releasing it. The Scottish originated "Auld Lang Syne" with acoustic guitar shows references from "Going Home," and "O Wie Sanft Ruh' Ich Hie" is a beautiful solo bass statement. The familiar Brahms lullabye "Guten Abend, Gute Nicht" uses ticktock rhythm with Arguelles' brushes implying swing, while Muthspiel's twangy cowboy-ish guitar contrasts. Johann Adam Hiller's "Im Lauten Jubel Bringen Wir" and the traditional "O Du Schoner Rosengarten" adopt balladic power poppish stances, with Muthspiel on acoustic six string in slow rockish or more solemn moods, respectively. The easily swinging "Labt Uns Nach Hause Gehen" is centered by solid electric guitar chords, while a wild, swinging bop beat, and Muthspiel's overdubbed soaring violin and churning acoustic guitar chords inform the traditional 19th century Frankonian song "Winter Ade." This is certainly an intriguing idea, and if you were not familiar with the original source material, you'd think this was all original music. A very listenable project is this, Ilg's third CD as a leader.
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AllMusic Review by Michael G. Nastos