Some of the best jazz in music often comes from obscure artists from unknown origins with pluralistic ideas. But in the United States and beyond its Continental borders, these thoughts are commonplace and many of the artists who create their own version of jazz have a legion of fans who follow them fervently. Another important fact can be found in the notion that unprecedented styles, such as acid jazz, chill out and lounge music, can be considered direct descendants of American jazz. In recent years, the United States has seen the Blue Knights, St. Germain, Paul Hardcastle, Courtney Pine, The Brand New Heavies and United Future Organization come into the forefront of activity, all of whom have added a different perspective on jazz.
In recent years, the emergence of Reinmar Henschke and Volker Schlott has added another instrumental influence. Their latest CD entitled Café Thiossane is etched in the very essence of the so-called acid jazz movement, which is a definite eye-opener for those jazz connoisseurs who lean more toward the untraditional styles. In addition, Café Thiossane may have the same level of impact on the so-called acid jazz/lounge music scene, as did Miles Davis’ Birth of the Cool when it was released in 1950. On Café Thiossane,’ Reinmar Henschke and Volker Schlott combine their melodic keyboard, saxophone and electronic expertise to create a unique musical awakening.
This CD is the end result of a chance encounter in 1990, when the two artists performed together with Japanese composer Rei Harakami on something called the ambienT’Tronic Projekte. That performance led to a series of recordings, culminating with the release of Café Thiossane. Their visionary thoughts have brought together the elements of acid jazz, American influences, electronic music and numerous other creative ideas to compose music with a different level of attachment.
From the onset of this highly innovative CD, Henschke and Schlott push the envelope of intuitive thought to compose electronic jazz imagery. In many ways, this album is not for the faint of heart, especially when evaluated by jazz purists, but some who may long for the unusual will find Café Thiossane intriguing. Although this release has varying elements of improvisational structure assigned to its theme, the argument most often heard is that this music is not jazz, mainly due to the CD's electronic composition.
For some, jazz has always been about change. Many of the more radical artists, including Eric Dolphy, John Coltrane, Ornette Coleman, Charles Mingus and Miles, have been responsible for changing the mind set of traditional thought processes. It is quite apparent that Café Thiossane may never be viewed in the same category as some of the more influential changes the genre has seen, but Cafe Thiossane does have merit as a mind bender.
That very aspect of interpretation alone may not be important in the whole scheme of what most aficionados prefer in their music. However, what is significant is the amount of impact jazz has had around the globe and in society. In the end, the genre has been one of America’s greatest exports and an ambassador to the world. Jazz is now being returned to the United States as an import with a myriad of dramatic influences attached. Kudos to Reinmar Henschke and Volker Schlott for providing a jazz forum of a very different flavor. Even so, Café Thiossane continues to be all about change and the creative flow of ideas coming from within.