Now in his fifties, Nils Wogram is a major figure on the German jazz scene and is starting to make a name for himself in France as a member of Michel Portal’s latest group.
With some thirty recordings to his credit – including nine with the Roots 70 quartet he founded in 2001 – over a thirty-year career, Wogram is a prolific musician with a wide expressive palette, from duets with Soviet pianist Simon Nabatov or with Bojan Z to a recording with Hamburg’s NDR big band.
On this new Roots 70 CD, we can note a willingness to work softly at mostly slow or medium tempos, which makes the few titles with a lively edge all the more striking. The beautifully round, fruity sound of the leader’s trombone is fully expressed, and his interaction with the alto of New Zealand saxophonist Hayden Chisholm, strongly influenced by Lee Konitz, is a constant delight.
As for the rhythm section – featuring another New Zealander, bassist Matt Penman, and German drummer Jochen Rueckert – it is constantly stimulating and stands out for its concern for musicality, making it a key element in the singing of this quartet for whom melody is clearly a priority.
The solo interventions of the two blowers are, in this respect, always marked by a desire for legibility. There’s nothing arid about this CD, where the trombone and saxophone counterpoints flow with confounding naturalness.
In short, it’s a recording that is both totally modern and perfectly timeless, by a tight-knit quartet that has managed to hold its own for over two decades, offering an aesthetic that makes it one of the most stimulating combos of the new millennium.
Line up :
Nils Wogram: trombone
Hayden Chisholm: alto sax
Matt Penman: double bass
Jochen Rueckert: drums
©Photos Corinne Hächl