Georg Breinschmid, firebrand contrabassist and bandleader, firebrand eclecticist extraordinaire, returns with a second offering of madcap doings, aptly titled Fire (Preiser Records 91203). It's a full CD of live and studio outings by two of his ensembles, plus a bonus EP disk with assorted added material.
There used to be a category in the record business, long ago, called "novelty." Now that isn't quite what this is--it's too musical, but there is a sense of humor and over-the-top exuberance to this music that makes it rather untypical.
Georg plays a LOT of contrabass here: slap bass swinging, arco thematics, and otherwise very extroverted bass wielding. There are two ensembles involved, as I mentioned above, both sans drums. Twelve Breinschmid originals are here, all over the place, as well as some dizzy-paced Humgarian folk tunes, middle-European ditties, polkas, watzes, sambas, all kinds of things.
Much of it has a hard-swinging, almost Hot Club sound (without the guitar), especially when Roman Janoska takes up the violin. The duos with trumpeter Thomas Gansch are opportunities for lots of playing, some humorous vocals, and an extension of Georg's repertoire to a kind of archaic cabaret thing.
It's not like anything else out there and it's filled with lots of fun. Certainly Georg's bass playing is of high interest but the whole program tickles with the unexpected, and manages to do so very musically. And when it's serious about its jazz, it's serious new swing.