Mark Alban Lotz

Puasong Daffriek

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Led by the quirky and good humored flutist/composer Mark Alban Lotz, the Dutch group Lotz of Music has lots going for it. The band works in the most modern eddies at the edge of the jazz mainstream. Lotz acknowledges a love for a variety styles and genres, as he makes evident in his tunes. The album opener, "Rappin' Donna," is -- as one might guess -- a re-imagination of Charlie Parker's "Donna Lee" with a funk backbeat. Lotz's tune maintains the general melodic contours of the original, without ever quoting it verbatim. The unison theme statement by Lotz and bass clarinetist Maarten Ornstein is Diz' and Bird tight, their improvised polyphony energetic. Although the idea of a classic bop number done as a funk tune seems a bit hokey, a listener unfamiliar with the source tune might not mind a bit. The band also essays mid-tempo post-bop, Headhunters-ish fusion, notated chamber music, and free improvisation. They pull it off without a hitch in almost every case. Ornstein is a fine soloist, both on bass clarinet and tenor sax. He's got a crisp, cleanly articulated style that lends itself nicely to the groove tunes. The rhythm section seems heavily influenced by the Williams/Hancock/Carter crew, especially drummer Stefan Kruger, whose ride cymbal sounds as if it might have been sampled from Nefertiti. Lotz's chosen instrument sets him apart, of course, but so does his skill as an improviser. He's a daring, spontaneous soloist, who manages to invest the flute with the sort of earthiness one might more logically expect from a saxophonist. There's a great deal of Dolphy in his playing, as the bass/flute duet "Begona-Blues" makes quite clear. He's the dominant (and most interesting) voice on the album. As for the rest, they're not the most original players in the world, but they play with fire and intelligence, and that's nothing to sneeze at.

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