Germany had a huge, life shattering, impact on the world during the last century, obviously some good and some bad (putting it mildly), from the impact of Bauhaus and the Dada art movement to the post-war involvement in electronic music and the fall of the Berlin Wall in the 1990’s. It’s safe to say Germany had a busy century.
Today Berlin stands as a bohemian backdrop for artists, poets, writers, musicians and anybody else that wants to spend time spending their time a little differently so it’s little surprise that the music is as varied as anywhere else in the world.
When I was given the debut album by one-time music director for Brazilian soul musician Ed Motta, I was expecting latin sounds, the freedom of jazz but all served with a contradicting dash of that famous German focus and efficiency, and I’m still unsure about how I feel about it all.
The album is, as you would expect from something titled soul trio, the work of three musicians (Andre Seidel on drums and Lars Zander on sax and bass clarinet) joining Klein on keyboards and it’s a band slightly outside of the norm. Your typical trio would be drums, piano and bass but Klein manages to play a second synth to bring the low notes, so he sets the bass rhythm to build the groove to work over. It’s a good method, one that works pretty well (the American band ‘The Delvon Lamarr Trio’ do a similar thing but using guitar instead of sax) but it does mean while the brain is split between two jobs, neither has the space to really explore other avenues.
Saying that, the music works, but it’s a little tame for me, I like this type of music to be more energetic and give the musicians space to work their parts more but where the music could go into a different direction, it stays still too much, going over the same piece.
Stand out tracks for me are ‘Little Thing’ and ‘Gringo Funk’ which appear midway through the album and are examples of how well the band works, but too often the music is let down by the limitation of the music.
The drums sound fantastic and, yes the bass sounds very good (and not like it comes from a synth) but if this band, when playing live, employ the services of a bass player and maybe a percussionist, this music will soar.
It just feels a little too safe at times.