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Stewy von Wattenwyl Hammond B3

Daniel Woodtli tp/flh

Alex Hendriksen ts/ss

Pius Baschnagel dr

Cover Wabash.jpg
Wabash - Stewy von Wattenwyl's WABASH
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Burner's Waltz - Stewy von Wattenwyl's WABASH
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Purple Gazelle - Stewy von Wattenwyl's WABASH
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Ghost-Bell - Stewy von Wattenwyl's WABASH
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Recovery - Stewy von Wattenwyl's WABASH
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Can a European jazz band still swing? Can the blues - the root of all jazz styles - still be audible? Not only, but also, and if so, then at most! Under these circumstances, four outstanding jazz musicians have found an exciting collective around the Hammond B-3 organ in «Wabash».

The instrumentation with organ, drums and two wind instruments is a very rare one, as it means a special challenge for the organist, but also opportunities and countless possibilities for the combo, which are fully explored here:

Pulsating collective improvisations alongside the reduction to solo duo or trio constellations generate an extremely dynamic band sound, polyphonic, well thought-out arrangements have just as much justification as free passages, harmonic and melodic simplicity intertwines with the very weird and complex.

The musical material comes largely from the pen of the band members and some gifted contemporaries, but is extremely varied and yet coherent: gospel elements can be found in Daniel Woodtli's wonderful "Ghost-Bell". Alex Hendriksen's "Just Like History" hints at the Latin tinge Pat Methenys, as does Stewy von Wattenwyl's "Recovery" with the hard bop Horace Silvers.


All of this would be half as appealing if  didn't add the needed fire or intimacy, at times stunning individual flights.


«Wabash»  A great moment in Swiss jazz
A somewhat unusual line-up: two wind players, Alex Hendriksen sax and Daniel Woodtli tp, and drummer Pius Baschnagel gather around the band leader and Hammond B-3 organist Stewy von Wattenwyl. What's going on here is a revelation. Collective and solo improvisations, driven by swinging rhythms, blues-soaked and haunting, plus excellent arrangements.

***** excellent / Egischa / 04.03.2008

Stewy von Wattenwyl's Wabash (Bemsha Music)


Is this impression deceptive, or does jazz from Switzerland always come around the corner a bit more quirky, but also smarter? The best evidence for this thesis would be the quartet by the Bernese organist Stewy von Wattenwyl, who is only accompanied by drums and two wind instruments - a saxophonist and a trumpeter. Constantly changing instrumental constellations (solo, duo, trio, quartet) make Wabash's sound extremely dynamic - and Pius Bauschnagel is exactly the right drummer for this, because he's never at a loss for an idea.

In the program, Wabash largely have their own compositions at the interface of hard bop and mainstream jazz with bluesy rough edges, but also Duke Ellington's "Purple Gazelle" in a lively shuffle rhythm. Wattenwyl plays the Hammond B3 with gusto and esprit, here and here he can also be heard playing the piano.By the way, the band named themselves after a song by Cannonball Adderley, which also opens the album.


Jazz Thing EN 8/2008_rt

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