Wednesday, September 1, 2021

Christoph Grab - Root Area (September 2021)

Today it is often forgotten that jazz is not only a unique art form, but also a social music. This social aspect comes to the fore especially where it is not about epochmaking innovations or daring experiments, but about providing a "neighbourhood audience" with musical soul food. That's why people like to talk about soul jazz in this context.

The Hammond organ is a very special instrument: with its wonder bag sounds and cheerfully bubbling bass runs, it is impossible to imagine soul jazz without it. With ROOT AREA, saxophonist Christoph Grab presents his equally contemporary and timeless version of soul jazz including Hammond power.

The core of ROOT AREA is formed by Grab, Hammond specialist Marcel Thomi and drummer Elmar Frey - they have been successfully touring as a trio for several years. Now the next stage is being ignited: With a repertoire consisting of original compositions (8 x Grab, 1 x Frey) and with exquisite saxophone support by Nicole Johänntgen and Victoria Mozalevskaya. Thanks to the trio's long-term experience and Johänntgen's and Mozalevskaya's quick grasp and impressive improvisational spontaneity, it only took one day to record ROOT AREA's debut album.

The repertoire is extremely varied, focusing mainly on feel-good moods and concise grooves. With these new compositions Grab traces his musical roots back to the Swiss folk music ("Meiteli wänn du witt go tanze") and thus to his childhood, "Abyss" has a jamesbondy melody, "Harlequin" evokes great emotions with its combination of emphasis and melancholy. The piece "In Communion" is dedicated to Krishnamurti and has a spiritual touch, which is reinforced by the "churchy" sound of the organ. The title track has a second-line groove that immediately makes you wanna dance and that hardly is done better in New Orleans. And in his track "We're Coming to Town", drummer Frey develops a wonderful swing drive, which is followed up in the closing big-band-like composition "Love in the Mist".

In the future, ROOT AREA's energy and joy of playing will certainly ensure a good atmosphere and glowing ears in many different neighbourhoods.
01 - Root Area
02 - Harlekin
03 - We're Coming To Town
04 - Abyss
05 - In Communion
06 - Musical Diary
07 - Meiteli Wann Du Wit Go Tanze
08 - Gridlock
09 - Love In The Mist

Christoph Grab tenor/soprano saxophone
Nicole Johaentgen alto saxophone
Victoria Mozalevskaya tenor saxophone
Marcel Thomi hammond organ
Elmar Frey drums