Tobias Delius

The Heron

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Tenor saxman Delius put together one of the best working jazz bands of the new millennium, and at least half the credit goes to those mainstays of the European scene, drummer Han Bennink and cellist Tristan Honsinger. The group's method of improvising suites utilizing written themes introduced democratically by any member supposedly came about during a radio broadcast when they used up all their charts faster than they thought they would and had to go back and repeat them. It works really well, bringing to mind the successful suite recordings of jazz master Sonny Rollins, with whom Delius clearly has an affinity and the chops and sound to pull it off. The group also brings together many of the interests of the fascinating Honsinger, who has always created a unique improvised-sounding classical music, or classical-sounding improvisation. Bennink just swings and swings, setting up marvelous backgrounds and head-smashing punctuations for the tunes. The fourth member is the Canadian bassist Joe Williamson, who works beautifully with everybody. Fans of modern jazz that balances noise and improv with strong melodies and swinging rhythms will like this group.

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