July 12, 2024


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CD review: Frederik Köster and Die Verwandlung – Golden Age 2020: Video, CD cover

Once again, The Metamorphosis lives up to its name. On their new album, the top-class quartet of award-winning musical personalities (a total of six jazz echoes, New German Jazz Award, WDR Jazz Award) once again accomplishes a stylistic and tonal change of direction. Especially in direct comparison to his Homeward Bound Suite released in 2018.

The spectacular orchestral work was widely praised at the time, for example as “a successful interweaving of jazz and classical elements with emotional depth” (Jazz Podium). The Swiss magazine Jazz’n’More found: “The quartet stringently implements the orchestra’s timbres and Frederik Köster’s solos conclusively lay over rhythmic patterns And the Badische Zeitung positioned the band leader at “the top of German jazz. Köster’s trumpet, elegantly and stubbornly lined with occasional loop echoes, clearly stands out from icons like Miles Davis and Chet Baker

After the successful excursion into large format, Die Verwandlung is now concentrating on itself again. With equally impressive results. You have never heard the band as diverse as on Golden Age, at least on CD. Already in the opening title Fanfare – For The Right Reasons Frederik Köster combines his brilliant trumpet sound discreetly with electronic effects, building an elegant and clever bridge from the orchestral previous album to the current sound of the quartet. In the following Soudasi, the electronics, which here includes a ring modulator in addition to a kaos pad, loop effects and samples, set striking accents.

The multi-part piece also combines flickering trumpet fanfares, growling double bass passages, calm and inciting moments. Not only Soudasi is based on Middle Eastern grooves (specifically on a Lebanese 6 / 4 pattern), which are fired by Burgwinkel’s pointed to high-density percussion. In Yalla, Köster’s rapid lines involuntarily evoke Balkan associations, but in fact the piece is based on an Arabic Maqam Bayat, which was modified by the band. Jimballa, on the other hand, relies on a 5 / 4 beat, which is also common in other parts of the world. In addition, there are compositions that process completely different inspirations. So Leak first lets the harmonics of Kenny Wheeler sound, before it suddenly turns to electro with beats and synthesizer sounds.

1. Fanfare – For the Right Reasons (2:34)
2. Soudasi (8:01)
3. Cast Me from Your Spell (3:08)
4. Jimballa (7:00)
5. Leak (7:45)
6. Levante (6:53)
7. Modern Day Mephisto Amor (3:43)
8. Yalla (4:57)
9. (To The) Evening Star (7:32)

Frederik Köster: trumpet, electronics, vocals
Sebastian Sternal: piano, fender rhodes

Joscha Oetz: double bass
Jonas Burgwinkel: drums

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