Title:               Taken By Surprise

 By:                  Kris Wanders Mani Neumeier Quintet

 Released in:   2011

 Format:          CD

 Catalog No:    MW 861-2

 Price :             12 EUR

Tracklist:

1. Oxymoron [23:30]

2. Taken By Surprise [24:32]

3. Not On Radio [19:34]

 

Line-up:

Kris Wanders - Tenor Sax

Brett Evans - Tenor Sax

Yusuke Akai - Guitar

Rory Brown - Double Bass

Mani Neumeier - Drums

 

Compositions: 1 And 3 By Brett Evans © 2011

Composition: 2 By Kris Wanders © 2011

Graphic Design: Pamela Kurth

Recorded January 19, 2011

Recording & Mixing: Darren Reston

Mastering: Peet Gardner

Production: Joseph Westonsmith & Marek Winiarski

 

Review:

 

During the mid-to-late 1960's, future Guru Guru drummer (Mani Neumeier) and tenor saxist (Kim Wanders) played together in the Peter Brotzmann Quintet and in an early version of the Globe Unity Orchestra. Since that time, Mr. Wanders moved to Australia where he still lives and Mr. Neumeier went on to form Guru Guru and collaborate with members of Acid Mothers Temple and Kazuhisa Uchihashi. Now, more than forty years later Mr. Wanders and Mr. Neumeier have gotten back together and put together an extraordinary quintet of mostly lesser known Australian musicians.

'Taken by Surprise' consists of three long pieces composed by either saxist, two by Brett Evans and one by Kris Wanders. "Oxymoron" has a strong memorable repeating theme which is played by the guitar, bowed bass and drums with smoking tenor sax riding the waves on top. Wow! Totally tight, focused and intense. Not sure which saxist is first but the first solo is just incredible. The playing and intricate interaction with the guitar, bass and drums is also completely inspired. This fabulous quintet sounds like like Takyanagi's New Direction Unit (one of Japan's finest free/jazz bands ever!), no small feat in itself. Guitarist Yusuke Akai is a monster musician, strumming furiously and jabbing those hyper chords tightly with the waves of rhythm underneath. Mr. Wanders (I believe) has that extreme Brotzmann-like note shredding sound, twisting his notes inside out. I really dig the powerful double sax and guitar harmonies that start off and conclude the first piece. The cosmic vibe is somewhere between early seventies British avant/jazz and South Africa roots/free form dynamism. It always amazes me when the CD of the week comes from a quintet that so few have heard of previously. I was indeed 'taken by surprise' - thoroughly Mind-Blowing! 

 

(Bruce Lee Gallanter, Downtown Music Gallery)

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