July 19, 2024


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CD review: Matthias Strucken – I Loves You Porgy 2022: Video, CD cover

For years now, the “Milt Jackson Project” has been part of vibraphonist Matthias Strucken’s regular repertoire, and it is fair to say that Milt Jackson is an affair of the heart for him. Jackson (1923-1999), himself a vibraphonist and co-founder of the legendary Modern Jazz Quartet, was the definitive master of bluesy swinging and grooving cool jazz, which Strucken now revives in a rousing way together with pianist Martin Sasse, bassist Matthias Nowak and drummer Dominik Raab. It is the simplicity and clarity of melody and form that inspire Strucken: “Keep swinging and keep the soul in your music.”

“I loves You Porgy” is the second release of the band, which is expanded in some tracks with guests Paul Heller, Joscho Stephan and Alfonso Garrido. The band’s sound never sounds nostalgic, quite the opposite: “I loves You Porgy” shows a fascinating freshness, always turned towards the present, and is open to many influences that Milt Jackson himself would probably never have played in this way. It was important to Strucken to persistently expand his sound and tonal spectrum, which he succeeded in doing in an impressive way. His sound, rich in mood and variety, is fed by both the melodic and percussive possibilities of his instrument, which Strucken not only makes swing, but above all literally sing, warm and warm-hearted, rich in atmospheric sound effects, quasi “softly as in a morning sunrise” as the title of that famous piece reads, which Stucken quotes right in the opener and which also belonged to the repertoire of the Modern Jazz Quartet.

Strucken describes in detail and very personally in the booklet of the CD the selection of his pieces, including four original compositions, partly written during the Corona period as an expression of his optimistic resistance (“Lockdown-Lockup”), partly swinging with wonderful Latin grooves, as if Strucken had been born with Bossa Nova and Samba (“Bossarona”, “Un Dia Bonito”). At the same time, familiar standards shine in amazing new versions and astonishing arrangements. The Beatles classic “Ticket to Ride” swings and grooves as if it had been expressly written as a swing shuffle, “The Masquerade is Over” from the late 1930s burns off melodic fireworks full of joie de vivre and joie de vivre thanks to rhythmic finesse, and the final “Pionciana” exudes pensive calm and sacred beauty, “meditative and devotional,” as Strucken puts it, and releases one almost inspired into the real world.

Above all this hovers the title piece “I Loves You Porgy” from Gershwin’s opera “Porgy and Bess”, a beguiling, emotionally deeply sounded ballad, carried by harmonic finesses, the singing bass of Matthias Nowak, but above all by the soulful devotion of all musicians – as it were the quintessence of a virtuoso sound experience, born from the somnambulistic interaction of pure intuition and grandiose creative art.

01. Used to Be Jackson
02. Plunk
03. Lockdown – Lockup
04. Ticket to Ride
05. Bossarona
06. I Loves You Porgy
07. Road Song
08. Un Dia Bonito
09. Sweet Emma
10. The Masquerade is Over
11. Poinciana

Matthias Strucken, vibraphone
Martin Sasse, piano
Matthias Nowak, bass
Dominik Raab, drums


Paul Heller, tenor saxophone
Joscho Stephan, guitar
Alfonso Garrido, drums

New CD – 2022 – Buy from here

I Loves You Porgy

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