Tuesday, February 14, 2017

BRUUT! - Superjazz (DOX RECORDS 2017)

Maarten Hogenhuis, organist Folkert Oosterbeek, bassist Thomas Rolff and drummer Felix Schlarmann bring their brand of postmodern popcorn grooves and hi-octane soul jazz with a sense of joyful interaction not unlike like-minded outfits as Flat Earth Society and Medeski, Martin & Wood. I’ve always felt there just might be that young newcomer to jazz having a revelation after hearing Bruut! perform an homage to the boogaloo period of saxophonist Lou Donaldson. Wishful thinking? I don’t think so.

Sparse boogaloo traits on Superjazz, strictly speaking, but Papa Lou’s spirit is certainly hovering over the exotic Camel. And the increasingly hot groove on Plume, which starts as the sound of a shellac disc of Cab Calloway, Wild Bill Davis or Bill Doggett that one might find in an East-Texan thrift store, develops into a cut many will recognize from the late sixties funk jazz output on Prestige and Blue Note by the likes of Rusty Bryant and Boogaloo Joe Jones. There’s Yamazaki, a fast-paced cartoonesque bopswing tune right out of the Raymond Scott bag. The old-timey Sonora swings merrily in 4/4 time.

The soundtracks of Quinten Tarantino have always been a big inspiration for Bruut!. Maybe one day the director might consider including Saga in one of his flicks, a sleazy grunge affair that reveals a lot of ‘rage against the machine’… Organist Folkert Oosterbeek conjures up his meanest Hammond sound available. Throughout the album, the playful Oosterbeek alternates between textures that range from shades of the Farfisa organ, old-fashioned, accordion-type chords to the crunchy sound and crisp lines of the organ modernists from the sixties.

Above all, the sing-songy, slightly husky alto sax of Hogenhuis earmark the straightforward, Dick Dale-influenced surf tunes Baha and the punky, jumpin’ and jivin’ Prince as quite out of the ordinary. Occasional twists, turns and flurries of notes reveal the work ethic of a jazz cat that grew up with Parker and the Parker-influenced giants of jazz. The poppy ballad Loulou finds Hoogenhuis, like a daddy soothing a daughter with a fractured knee, reaching for a soft spot in the heart.

Bruut! appeals to the hearts and minds of jazz and popular music fans that appreciate tongue-in-cheek, uplifting tunes performed with deftness and unbridled enthusiasm.