The story behind the Nachbar jazz venue can be traced back to the late 1800’s emigration of German immigrants, mainly skilled laborers, to Louisville, KY. Over the years, the area known as Germantown blossomed and the cultural imprints weaved their way into the town. Louisville native and bassist John Goldsby relocated to Germany and currently performs with the WDR Big Band. He's also enjoyed a prominent musical career in New York City. But his return to Louisville prompted several performances at the club along with powerhouse alto saxophonist Jacob Duncan who founded the progressive-jazz outfit Liberation Prophecy amid his stints with diva Norah Jones and others. Drummer Jason Tiemann, rounds it all out and is also a member of Liberation Prophecy to complement his sideman duties with guitar hero Ben Monder and many jazz notables. Sure enough, this an adventurous and thoroughly hip date emanating from the Nachbar, which is the German word for "neighbor."
The trio at times sparks fond remembrances of the late, great New York City saxophonist Thomas Chapin’s trio recordings for the now defunct Knitting Factory Records label. However, the musicians carve out their own style and methodology and from an energy-level viewpoint; the band dishes out ample doses of pop and sizzle amid regimented three-way unison lines. Hence, they excite the mind’s eye. With an oscillating ebb and flow, the unit’s fluency and acute implementations of dynamics yield bountiful dividends as they say.
It’s a democratic engagement indeed, where all parties involved contribute on a horizontal plane of sorts. But it’s Duncan who resides as the lead voice via his articulate lines and manner of spinning vocal attributes into his phraseology, regardless of tempo or pitch. Chock full of spikes and dips, the trio moves with grace yet proclaims a fiery attack. For example, Tiemann’s polyrhythmic solo on "Nached Up," features cross-sticking maneuvers and rim-shots, segueing the torrid passage into a quiet interlude, enacted by Goldsby’s booming bass notes. But the artists recycle and regenerate primary thematic forays here and throughout the majority of these pieces.
Duncan lowers the temperature with a deep, and soulful rendition of Billy Strayhorn’s "A Flower Is A Lovesome Thing." Then the band ups the ante during Monk’s "Mysterioso," where they render a buoyant medium-tempo swing vamp, spiced by Duncan’s soaring, howling and soul-searching notes atop the rhythm section’s oscillating pace. No doubt, good things are happening on the jazz front over in Louisville. A sparkling and vibrant outing it is. More importantly, the musicians inject character and gobs of expressionistic motifs into the grand schema. (Strongly recommended.... )