Trumpeter/flugelhornist Franz Koglmann’s inventive fusions of classical stylizations and progressive jazz are a well-known entity. On this release - underscored by a title that might ring like a psychological thriller - the artist includes operatic libretto and spoken word, featuring male and female vocalists.
Koglmann’s music is set upon Christian Baier’s libretto based upon T.S. Eliot’s poem, "The Waste Land." It’s partly about happy people living unproductive and perhaps mindless lives. Here, everything is sung in German, although the producers have included a booklet, complete with English translations of the text. As stated, this four-part opus is deemed, "A Beach Opera." Featuring a base quartet, including the great saxophonist Tony Coe, bassist Peter Herbert and others of note, the various jazz motifs are integrated into a large strings and horns ensemble conducted by Peter Burwik.
It’s a rather complex work, substantiated by the respective vocalists’ moments of laughter, animated lyricism, and pathos. During the large ensemble overlays and the jazz quartet’s accenting choruses the listener will experience periods of musical enlightenment shaped with asymmetrical inclusions of Latin beats, and cool jazz. Guitarist Martin Siewart even injects a surfside motif by using a Hawaiian guitar on "Mit Kleinen Stichen (With Tiny Stitches)." Siewart also injects electronics into various parts. To that end, this work demands the listener’s attention and is by no means, easy listening music. It’s state of the art, yet probing and undeniably heady in scope. But Koglmann is a man of many surprises. This release incontestably reaffirms that notion, in high-flying fashion.