Gerhard Graml


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German bassist Gerhard Graml leads his quartet Lunapark through a set of eclectic original music. There are nods to '70s-style funk and pumping acid rock on "Ann+Pat," "Jizz-Jazz Class of 95," and "Nifty Eats." Something about these tracks recalls the straight-faced comedic style of Frank Zappa. A different aspect of Zappa's influence can also be heard on two pieces written for a video project called Sugar Is a Friend featuring Graml with the Vienna Mallet and Percussion Ensemble.

Lunapark tips its hat to straight-ahead jazz on such tracks as "Ning-Nong," "Bruno et le Coeur Dans le Nord," and "Pasadena Strip." They do a nice job with the brisk samba of "Sedona" and the hip 7/8 groove of "Revenge." They're utterly hilarious on "Anleitung Zum Umgang Mit Stellen Offizieller Natur," which features Graml vocalizing in German. Throughout, Peter Uwira's accordion lends an unexpected twist to the more conventional instrumentation: the versatile guitars of Alex Machacek, the subtle drums of Victor Antonio, and the fat-toned basses of Graml.

There's much talent on display here, but one needs to be in the mood for Lunapark's brand of egg-headed cleverness.

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