Sunday, November 01, 2009

Stephan Bormann Band



Each year more jazz CD’s are released than can be reviewed. As a result, it is not a surprise that the Stephan Bormann Band's Songs From a Small Room received very little critical attention when it was released in 2005 on the Ozella label, an independent company in Germany. A professor of guitar at Dresden’s University of Music, Bormann is currently a member of the duo Hands on Strings, which has released three CD’s in Germany and which also features Thomas Fellow. Songs From a Small Room is Bormann’s third recording as a leader.

Composed of Stephan Bormann on electric and acoustic guitar, Volker Schlott on alto and soprano saxophone, Mohi Buschendorf on double and electric bass, and Jens Dohle on drums, the Stephan Bormann Band performs original material created by Stephan Bormann.

There are a range of styles on this CD, such as chamber jazz and elements of mid-1970’s jazz fusion. Even so, the music remains unique because of its adoption of several different styles, none of which dominate the album as a whole. Some of the details to listen for are the short guitar solo at the close of “Signals,” the saxophone solo on “(song from a) Small Room,” the call and response between guitar and saxophone on “(song from a) Small Room,” the saxophone solo in “Come With Me,” the bass solo and the special effects in “Journey into the Past,” and the bass solo on “Two Old People in a Maize Field.”

Although short at nearly 50 minutes, when some CD's now contain 60 or 70 minutes of music, this CD serves as an excellent introduction to these musicians. It’s unfortunate that this debut effort has not been supplemented with a more recent recording.

I discovered this CD at CD Baby when I was looking for something else, and eventually downloaded the CD from Amazon. It's music that can provide a capstone to an evening or that can break the monotony of a lengthy crosscountry drive. Of late, it’s the music that makes it possible to start writing up my grading comments for student essays.

Track Listing: Nordic Sky, Signals, Taste of Summer, Come With Me, (song from a) Small Room, five 4 two, Journey into the Past, Beyond the Horizon, Two Old People in a Maize Field.