Monolith by Enders Room is the brainchild of German tenor saxophonist and multi-instrumentalist Johannes Enders. An ambitious mix of jazz, electronica and spoken word, "Monolith" is an album that has the ability to speak to many different listeners on many different levels.
Born in Upper Bavaria in 1967, Enders began playing the saxophone at the age of 14. He moved to the U.S. in 1990 and acquired a scholarship at New York’s New School. Winner of many music competition awards in Europe and America, he has studied, recorded and played with the likes of Roy Hargrove, David Liebman, Branford Marsalis, Donald Byrd, Lee Konitz and Brad Mehldau, among others.
On this recording Enders is credited as playing saxes, clarinets, flute, samples, electronics, CR 78, Fender Rhodes, piano and OB 12. While it’s true that he makes extensive use of drum machines, synthesizers and samplers, his main instrument is the saxophone and this is clearly a sax-driven album. As talented a composer as he is a musician, Enders wrote and produced the entire album, with the exception of the lyrics on "I Could", which were written by vocalist Rebekka Bakken.
With smart, catchy melodies and simple, uncluttered rhythms this collection of tunes is very accessible to the ear. An incredible amount of gear was employed in the recording of this album, and it would have been easy to overuse what was at hand, resulting in a bland, soulless CD. But Enders’ use of electronics is restrained and tasteful, striking a great balance between the electronic and the acoustic.
Joining him as guest musicians are Wolfgang Muthspiel (guitar), Rebekka Bakken (vocals), Roberto Di Gioia (piano), Joe Locke (vibes), Ed Howard (bass), Thomas Stabenow (bass), Patrick Scales (bass), Christian Salfellner (drums), Micha Acher (fluegelhorn) and Markus Acher (drums).
From the elegant spoken-word poetry of "Could I", to the funkified reggae of "Komu", the drum ‘n bass-inspired "Seismo" and the smooth jazziness of "Impressionist", "Monolith" succeeds in bringing together a diverse group of musical elements and creating something fresh and inspired.