Jazz doesn’t have to sound elitist, snobbish or deadly serious. Many of the greats of this popular music shifted aesthetic boundaries and mucked up. Stephanie Lottermoser from the south of Bavaria moved to Hamburg many years ago and has already recorded several albums with funk and soul jazz.
You name your fifth after the Hanseatic city. She then works out the stylistic closeness to soul and funk with three vocal tracks that fit even more into the other segments. Nevertheless, the presence of their saxophone solos predominates on this record and in some places also one or the other tingling keyboard part, so that “Hamburg” is also aimed at experienced jazz ears.
But if you are really convinced of certain style principles to the core, the LP could also be perceived as a provocation. Because the tracks mostly have very clear, song-like structures, even when Stephanie is not singing. The character of improvised music shines through less often, but the pieces show dramaturgy and progression. You can find a successful compromise between pop format and freer play.
Part of the ‘jazz police’, however, that is, conservative, categorized circles within the large jazz universe with its umpteen sub-genres, was initially a horror of Stephanie’s openness and mix of styles. She takes stock: “Of course, during your studies and while you are taking your first steps on the open concert market, you want not only the audience, but also recognition from fellow students, and later from colleagues. There are very different mentalities at home in jazz . There are people for whom nothing came after bebop that they would even call jazz. Some only play straight-ahead, some only avant-garde music and don’t really accept anything else. ”
“I find that difficult. For me, it’s about whether something is played well and authentically. If in doubt, it can also be music that is not my favorite music now. Nevertheless, I can acknowledge that people have beautiful music and: theirs Make music, but there are very, very strong purists in the jazz scene who have a clear idea of what is acceptable, what is deep enough and what is not, because I went in such a soul-groove-funk-jazz direction I didn’t like it all. For a couple of years I got a lot of things that weren’t really nice. Now I don’t care. I think you can only be successful at all with your own music, if you are honest with yourself be.”
The opener “Cory”, which sparkles full of euphoria, already embeds the saxophone as a supporting instrument in a funk-rocky, fast drum rhythm bed. An optimistic start. “Letter To The Inner Child” underlines with funky bass runs, cutting jazz rock riffs on the keyboard and a dominant electric guitar that Stephanie celebrates the fusion scene of the 70s in the style of Weather Report and the Crusaders and gives room for creative thinking. The album “Hamburg” clears your head quickly and allows a few kicks towards joie de vivre and a sunny disposition even after tough days of zooming and home office in April frost with the usual mask disputes in the supermarket queue. So the right record at the right time.
The piano-supported vocal ballad “Dreaming My Dreams With You” dares a move into the currently rather empty field of Corinne Bailey Rae, Randy Crawford and Sade on the record market: beautiful, calm, sliding soul with a sympathetically unexcited but expressive voice. Stephanie arranges the vocal pieces, in which she both sings and blows the saxophone, quite elegantly. At the same time, she stays at eye level with people who otherwise just listen to pop and avoids eccentric, tangled curls.
In “Dreaming My Dreams With You” as well as in “Within”, Stephanie’s keyboard colleague Till imitates some sequences from the synthesizer and overdubbeds them so that they sound like a clavinet – a refreshing timbre, rarely used, known from the music of Marvin Gayes or Stevie Wonders. “Within” is so ecstatic that it comes across as very relaxed at the same time. “Gate A5 Geneve” elicits some clattering high notes from the keyboard instruments, which offer Stephanie’s tenor saxophone good contrasts.
The third piece sung, “What Kind Of Lovesong”, gives hi-hats as well as saxophone and guitar plenty of room to develop. Stephanie intones casually and leaves any superfluous pathos aside, because singing is limited to a part-time job in the Gesamtkunstwerk, and the saxophone is the real star.
So you feel stylistically reminded of some brilliant live recordings by Prince and his Dutch colleague Candy Dulfer. Stephanie knows this leap of thought: “It’s sometimes too obvious: I’ll probably be compared to her forever because we’re both blonde and play the saxophone. That’s okay because I think she’s great. Candy Dulfer wasn’t the first saxophonist to be. that I ran into. I only discovered it later, but I also think it’s great. ” Despite the many female ex-fellow students, the 37-year-old Stephanie Lottermoser notices that there are still not many women who have made careers on this instrument – even if that seems to be changing a bit right now. Thus the album also marks a statement in the direction of the visibility of women beyond the singing role.
Even if “Zwischenraum” or “Morgen (Hamburg)” sound a bit restrained and meander, so that you feel close to the lounge, most of the performances quickly pull you along. “Hype” increases, according to a hype, from a very quiet, leisurely introduction to a striking, present middle section with a loud wind solo – and then pauses briefly to lead to an orchestral, menacingly loud second half.
“Karma” and “Prayer” tend to promote concentration and arouse the desire to deal more with instrumentals and to give such sounds a chance. Stephanie Lottermoser is doing the industry a good service, packaging everything very accessible with a friendly eye-catcher cover artwork and by the way shows: Funkyness lives and can give us happy impulses in these times.