For many of You the trio’s name, “Pork Pie Hat”, will immediately associate Charles Mingus‘ “Good bye Pork Pie Hat”, a ballad which was covered by an endless number of musicians and many of them not just from the classic Jazz genre, but paying credit to the genius of Mingus and the Jazz History at all. ( see Joni Mitchel, Jeff Beck, ….. ).
Thomas Wolff, producer and guitarrist of the trio, did run a studio project in the 80’s under the name of “HARMONIC OBSESSION”, cooperating with many outstanding musicians from his homeland and outside Germany (Rex Richardson, Oytun Ersan, Baran Say,Volkan Oktem, Winfied Schuld, Dirk …).
It seems to me that the name of this project lives on with the current trio, as all three musicians obviously burst of desire to play, interact and create ….and as the title of the album suggests, the music is completely live recorded in the studio with no cuts or edits.
One shot – just like in the old times of analogue tape machines – which in a way offers a very intimate participation of us listeners into the musical process that clearly prefers to take risks before following classic forms.
Right with the very first bars of the opener, “Super Strut” ( by Deodato), it comes clear that this musicians don‘t play from the book of “German Tradition“, but rather catapults you to the States, somewhere on the East Coast, into a typical jazz club basement, which might host local performers on weekdays and brand names on the weekend. This is no „Kraut Heads“.
While Pork Pie Hat can compliment as classy, seated club audience and serve as background with delicate, groove oriented improvisation, it can turn out sharp and right in the face with catching hooks and riffs which rule and the three original compositions in the album underline their unique and versatile style.
But the very form of this music is not its content. It stretches to another side, far from the Kraut homeland, even before the beginnings of fusion in the early seventies. Pork Pie Hat created its own form of expression. By expanding the archaic form of presentation with decent but very present use of technology and electronics, Pork Pie Hat creates an expression that may not be suitable to every listener, but it definitely got SOUL.
The album contains seven jam oriented compositions of a loose structure. This looseness and even the unconventionality of the skeleton, gives great freedom of creation to the artists. In one single composition they change tempos, atmosphere, ambience and even the domination of the instrument, which is beautifully balanced within the album.
There are two axes of expression, guitar and keyboards, or rather, organ. While the guitar is subordinated to a wide array of influences, styles and sounds, the organ is focused on the intersection between Jimmy Smith and Larry Young. In other words, Hammond sound lovers will come to their own.
And finally, the most important thing. “Unfiltered Sessions” is not a CD that will let your mouth open, nor will it change your way of thinking about music. “Unfiltered Sessions” is simply there to stay as part of your day and as source of good mood and energy.
The archaic patina is a charming skin for the expressions and underneath three whisperers are not getting tired to share with us wonderful musical stories. But watch out. The fairy tales are just partly told by the artists – the other, the final part remains on you, the listener to complete!
Pork Pie Hat – „Can’t Hide Love”
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