Tuesday, November 23, 2010

George Breinschmid, Bassist and Iconoclast

George Breinschmid was a bassist with the Vienna Philharmonic before he turned to jazz, and he's been doing alright for himself--the Vienna Art Orchestra, Archie Shepp, etc. The new album of his, Brein's World (Preiser 90787), a two-CD set, shows that he plays a very out-front bass that is as extraordinary eclectic as is his music. Imagine a stylistic universe that embraces everything from Arvell Shaw to Charles Mingus and beyond. That's Georg, the bassist. He slaps and punktes his instrument with great elan and a sense of balance.

And the music? It's so all-over-the-place that you may need a compass to keep your bearings. There's a kind of Hot Club swing minus Django, there are some bizarre sorts of lopey acoustic hip-hops, some playing around with the classical repertoire (Bach especially), interesting contemporary sounds, folk music and what sounds like beer-hall songs--all done in a drumless chamber context with trumpet, piano, violin, and etc.

The two full CDs have so much going on that I can't possibly capture it all here, and not all of it is perfect, but it has such joie de vivre and panache that you can't help going away from this music with a smile on your face.

It's fun, a rare sort of thing in serious jazz these days. But it IS. Get this one and you'll get some very interesting bass playing, unusual arrangements, and a musical trip across the many landscapes inside Brein's brain. Wow!

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