Flowers for Albert

Welf Dorr

"Strikingly eloquent live album that variegates between periods of full jubilation and quiet discovery" with Kenny Wollesen (US), Henock Temesgen (Ethiopia), Shoko Nagai (Japan), Jonathan Finlayson (US) and Welf Dorr (Germany) recorded in New York, 2005.

All About Jazz review by Celeste Sunderland - Nov. 4, 2006: In1905 Albert Einstein published three monumental papers. His theory on Brownian motion showed that minute particles in liquid move randomly; the photoelectric effect said that light can exist as either a wave or a particle; and special relativity states that the speed of light is constant, regardless of the observer's velocity.

A hundred years later the United Nations declared 2005 the World Year of Physics and German-born alto saxophonist Welf Dorr played "Flowers For Albert, a play on the title of David Murray's 1976 Hatology tribute to Albert Ayler, at the German House in New York. That night Dorr's piece honored the great German physicist while perhaps subtly hinting at the other great Albert.

Bridging nations and styles with a group that included drummer Kenny Wollesen, Ethiopian bassist Henock Temesgen, Japanese pianist Shoko Nagai and trumpeter Jonathan Finlayson, Dorr, who most regularly plays in New York with his trio and his hip-hop/jazz group Funk Monk, created a strikingly eloquent live album that variegates between periods of full jubilation and quiet discovery.

The group immediately dons a vibrant conviviality on the title track. Wollesen sets up a fresh, free atmosphere with a quick, breezy drum solo before Finlayson's steady trumpet line picks up the pace, prepping the space for Dorr to take charge on saxophone. Airy cymbals and piano add lightness to the long, deep sax tones, and soon all partake in the communal activities, conceding to each other in a space devoid of doubt. Soon the sound breaks down to elemental structures. Particles of plucking noise team with silent voracity. The piece builds again to catchy, horn-led melodies then echoes away with shards of trumpet and quivering drums.

Finlayson breaks out a swinging lyricism on "Outcry, held brightly aloft by the vivacious rhythm section. Fantastic solos spring up throughout the track. Nagai's spirited convolutions around the keys evolve into extreme counterpoint as her left hand takes on brooding chords that dissolve into a liquidy marsh of spooky bass notes, which in turn evaporate in the end into Wollesen's diligent drum solo. His progression follows the natural flow of motion created as the drums crash then fade, or beat after one another, barely leaving room between without treading on the next.

"Just 4 Us features a scrupulous bass solo by Temesgen. He scurries around the neck of his instrument, teetering serendipitously upon key notes before idling away. Dorr plays flute on several tunes, adding a soft tone to the album with tracks like "Deep In. His compositions are rich in substance, introducing new textures into traditional constructs. The last track, "Swept Away, mixes free jazz with the big brassy sounds of a big band, incorporating a contrapuntal nature that mimics the combination of careful symmetry and natural chaos that is science.

Personnel: Welf Dorr: alto saxophone, flute; Kenny Wollesen: drums; Henock Temesgen: bass; Shoko Nagai: piano; Jonathan Finlayson: trumpet.

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Almost Blue

Underground Horns

We are cooking audio gumbo... our special recipe includes some funk, jazz, hip hop mixed with brass band traditions, spiced up with African and other world rhythms...music for the people!


In ALMOST BLUE, their highly anticipated third album, Underground Horns
 are mixing Afro Funk, New Orleans, Haitian and Ethio Jazz elements into a deep grooving sonic gumbo. 
They are calling their trademark sound "MUSIC FOR THE PEOPLE!"

For the most part this album is instrumental but the song Creole features djembe player Okai on vocals, singing in his parents native tongue Haitian Creole. There are other tunes with African or African diaspora rhythms like Goodbye Pork Pie Hat (Highlife) and Mopti, written by world music pioneer Don Cherry.

 Full Moon is a funk burner and House Song incorporates impulses from electronic music but in a completely acoustic setting. And there are Ethio Jazz tunes: Cha Cha, written by Mulatu Astatke and the originals Ethio and Almost Blue.


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Big Beat

Underground Horns

We are cooking audio gumbo... our special recipe includes some funk, jazz, hip hop mixed with brass band traditions, spiced up with African and other world rhythms...music for the people!

Big Beat, the second album of the Underground Horns, a brass band from Brooklyn, New York, draws on a mix of different styles from all over the world with one thing in common: they all are hard grooving.

The title track comes in a Afro beat and a more Dance oriented version, "Arabian flavor" mixes Bhangra rhythms with Arabian and Balkan influences, "Omelette Town" visits New Orleans with its second line groove, "Shumba" is a traditional song from Zimbabwe, "When will we come together" is a reggae tune with some dub elements, on "Let's Go" percussionist Okai displays his rhyming skills along a funky hip hop groove, "La Luciernaga" pays homage to the salsa traditions of New York, the Black Civil Rights anthem "Lift every voice and sing" has this euphoric church feel and the upbeat "Tranquility" combines Ethiopian pentatonic with a propulsive rhythm.

Usually Underground Horns play live as a 6piece unit, but for this recording they assembled the big family - on most tracks you get to hear eight musicians: Welf Dorr (alto sax, bass clarinet) - Kevin Moehringer (trombone) - Mike Irwin (trumpet) - Satoru Ohashi (trumpet) Nate Rawls (tuba) - Kevin Raczka (drums, perc.) - Andreas Brade (perc, drums) - Okai (djembe, vocals)

Here are some quotes from a review of our first album "Funk Monk" in All About Jazz NY (2009): "Alto saxophonist Welf Dorr has spent the last several years putting his own unique spin on the brass band, an instrumental lineup that is usually found in NYC crossing jazz with Balkan music. Although Dorr does look to Serbia for part of his musical muse he also draws heavily on a host of things including Afro-Cuban rhythms, funk and Thelonious Monk... ... Dorr draws on the power of a lineup that, along with his alto, includes drums, conga, tuba, trumpet and trombone to produce kick-ass dance music but doesn't devolve into parody. This is really wonderful new brassy jazz fusion music that even brushes up against psychedelia .... ...shots of funky brass juice .... stylistically diverse... an infectious charmer.... slow blues burner... plenty of room to improvise... beautifully subtle Mid-Eastern infused... (Elliot Simon, All About Jazz NY, Nov. 2009)

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