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Charm Offensive






  1. Stretch Mark

  2. 5-Hydroxytryptamine

  3. Aussen position

  4. Parasitosis

  5. Eunice Park

  6. The Alarmists

  7. Purring Excellence

  8. Charm Offensive

    Mark Turner - Tenor saxophone

    Mike Moreno - Guitar

    Orlando Le Fleming - Bass

    Jochen RŁeckert - Drums

    German-born drummer Jochen RŁeckert arrived in the United States in 1995 when he was aged only 19. These days, he is New York based and is an American citizen. He fulfilled his dream in that he became a significant presence on the music scene there and has worked with numerous US musicians including John Abercrombie, Kevin Hays and Madeleine Peyroux. He has also played with rock bands and is an enthusiast for electronic music. His quartet was formed in 2009 and three albums have followed. The personnel has varied somewhat but on this occasion RŁeckert is in familiar company in Mike Moreno and especially in tenor saxophonist Mark Turner. Turner is an asset to any group, having been on one occasion described as somewhere between John Coltrane and Warne Marsh. All the compositions on the disc under review are by RŁeckert himself.

    Pick of the bunch for me is the track 5-Hydroxytryptamine. Found in the human body, the substance referred to is believed to contribute to feelings of well-being and happiness. It definitely worked for me! I thought Mike Moreno's solo revealed him to be a rare talent, reminiscent of the work Bill Frisell contributed to the Kenny Wheeler CD, Angel Song. He is not the only musician to make his mark on this track. Mark Turner is as persuasive as ever and the group as a whole address the theme with delicacy and swing. Not far behind, elsewhere on the album, areStretch Mark, Parasitosis, Eunice Park,The Alarmists and the title track, Charm Offensive. Note the fluency and control of Turner on the first of these, as well as the creative momentum RŁeckert provides. Shades of another guitar great, that is to say Jim Hall, emerge in Moreno's supple playing on Eunice Park. RŁeckert is again excellent. Le Fleming's reflective and exploratory bass is a feature of The Alarmists. Come to think of it, he is first rate in the final track, too, where Mark Turner sounds positively Garbarek-like. I was less enthused by the brief, hypnotic Aussen position and the urgent Purring Excellence.

    Those are minor quibbles however. Overall, there is much more to appreciate than criticize on the album. This is a group of gifted musicians, served well by RŁeckert's compositions. It's a disc that will repay return visits, without a doubt.

    James Poore

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