Norbert Stein

New Archaic Music

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Pata Horns was an unusual quartet organized by Norbert Stein and consisting of two reeds and two low brass. The music, composed largely by Stein but including pieces by all the bandmembers, is light and bouncy, following somewhat along the lines of folks like Carlo Actis Dato: dance or ethnic-inflected works allowing for jazzy soloing on top. More so than Actis Dato, there's a sense of politeness in the way the Pata Horns go about their business. This is not a good thing. On songs like "Ruth und Joseph," where the apparent intent is to get down and dirty, one gets the impression they're carefully laying a towel on the ground to make sure they don't get too soiled. The up-tempo pieces are interspersed with some melancholy dirges that sound a bit like things that didn't make the cut on some of Willem Breuker's weaker albums. This isn't to say that there's no enjoyable music here, just that, given the obvious capabilities of the musicians involved, it would have been nice to hear them stretch themselves a bit more, to get into more involved compositions. Of the group, multi-reedist Andreas Gilgenberg stands out, more from his strong solo work than his tunes, which conform to the abovementioned "guidelines." New Archaic Music is attractive and approachable but offers slim pickings for most serious jazz fans.

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