Nik Bartsch's Ronin: Live (ECM/Ode)

 |   |  <1 min read

Nik Bartsch's Ronin: Modul 17 Tokyo
Nik Bartsch's Ronin: Live (ECM/Ode)

A previous album by this often melodically minimalist, rhythmically propulsive and effervescent group around keyboard player Bartsch -- Llyria -- was singled out as one the Best of Elsewhere in 2010 and this double live disc recorded at various venues between 2009 - 2011 confirms that they are something special. And different.

Young, vigorous and playing with a constraint which sometimes just has to be let go into explosive playing and dynamics, Ronin sometimes come off as Steve Reich with an injection of funk, the soundtrack to a film noir starring Orson Welles and Klaus Kinski ( a double whammy of different kinds of menace) or a post-rock band with some serious jazz chops. There's even a bit of pulsing Afro-juju beat in the piece recorded in Tokyo.

Each of the pieces here -- improvisations averaging around the 10 minute mark -- is billed as a separate "modul", a hint that you can see these as refractions of their collective personality all coming from a similar but distinct emotional place.

With two percussion players, the music is grounded but also capable of sudden bursts of exciting kinetic energy.

The repetition might put more conservative ears off, but Ronin are seriously good if challenging. 

Share It

Your Comments

post a comment

More from this section   Jazz at Elsewhere articles index

JACQUES LOUSSIER AT 75: Bach and all that jazz

JACQUES LOUSSIER AT 75: Bach and all that jazz

Jacques Loussier, who popularised jazz back when television was broadcast in black and white, says his career came about by accident. Half a century on from his first album and four... > Read more

SONNY ROLLINS INTERVIEWED (2011): The old lion still prowling

SONNY ROLLINS INTERVIEWED (2011): The old lion still prowling

Gary Giddins, the authoritative US jazz critic, said of tenor saxophonist Sonny Rollins that he was “one of the last immort­als, the most powerful presence in jazz today. He is its most... > Read more

Elsewhere at Elsewhere

Elsewhere Art . . . Lester Bowie

Elsewhere Art . . . Lester Bowie

The late Lester Bowie was not just a great musician but a funny guy. Hence Donald Duck in this collage. One of Bowie's pieces was Miles Davis Meets Donald Duck for which he blew through a straw... > Read more

THE BARGAIN BUY: Michael Jackson; Off the Wall and Thriller (Sony)

THE BARGAIN BUY: Michael Jackson; Off the Wall and Thriller (Sony)

Michael Jackson has been dead for over a year now -- almost 18 months in fact -- and the marketing rolls on: there will be a new album (entitled Michael) on December 14 2010 and you can read the... > Read more