CD REVIEW – Philipp Gropper’s Philm Live At Bimhuis by Eric Alan – 12 April 2018

Live At Bimhuis by Philipp Gropper’s Philm

Is jazz dead, I say emphatically no, but the late Frank Zappa said “Jazz isn’t dead. It just smells funny.” To go further “Life is a lot like jazz… it’s best when you improvise.” once said by George Gershwin. Also “If you have to ask what jazz is, you’ll never know.” as said by Louis Armstrong.
The world of jazz is really not as marginal as so many think and believe, yes jazz is also not as irrelevant in the world music as so many major record labels like to say, jazz does not sell. No, jazz is not a trivial voice in the wilderness of today’s music industry; it is a force to be reckoned with. Now here is a question, why are so many jazz musician first call session musicians around the world? Here’s something else to ponder, why are there so many independent jazz record labels releasing so many new jazz albums world wide? I mean so far this year we’ve been sent 484 new and re-issue Jazz, Blues, Latin and World jazz albums of all genres from all quarters of the world. Sjoe can you believe it so may released this year already. Any volunteers want to write some CD reviews? Since I’ve been in the broadcast business I’ve always said jazz sells. More than those “clever” executive flunkies at record labels think.

Wait a mo, you ask yourself where is the review, read on dear friends, it’s coming I promise. J

Jennifer Back contacted me from a German label I’d never heard of and she told me of the recording I’m now listening to titled Live At Bimhuis by Philipp Gropper’s Philm (WPJ041).

The German record label is WhyPlayJazz, naturally my inquisitive nature got the best of me so I had a quick look at their website and boy was I glad I did, suffice to say we will be featuring more from this very interesting lable in our program and on our playlists going forward.

Here is a bit about them I’ve taken from their website; WhyPlayJazz – the independent record label for contemporary jazz with a special focus on the Berlin scene. The record label from Greifswald with a passion for fine sound was called into existence in 2005. Roland Schulz founded his own record label out of fascination for this idiosyncratic music. There was so much to discover! WhyPlayJazz is looking at years of cooperation with musicians like Philipp Gropper, Uli Kempendorff, Benjamin Weidekamp and Wanja Slavin and is enriching the European jazz scene with its 40th release in 2018.

Philipp Gropper’s Philm Philipp Gropper – Robert Landfermann – Oliver Steidle – Elias Stemeseder photo by Frank Schemmann

Now the reason for all the above, though the album has been added to our playlist and I’ve feature tracks in the programming, it’s the first time I’m listening to the album in it’s entirety since receiving the album three weeks ago.

On first impression there is a lot of freedom and huge responsibility given by bandleader Philipp Gropper to his band mates. It has been a very pleasant surprise to listen to as each track takes one into a world of exciting improvisational mastery. It challenges, enthrals and showcases far wider musical influences offering a worldly perspective giving one pause for thought and reflection. It is an album that must be added to ones collection. I can recommend this album highly and look forward to hearing more and sharing music by Philipp Gropper’s Philm and the many other artists on the WhyPlayJazz record label.

The line-up is made up of Philipp Gropper (tenor sax, composition), Elias Stemeseder (piano, synthesizer), Robert Landfermann (bass), Oliver Steidle (drums)

It was recorded July 30th, 2017 by Marc Schots at the famous BIMHUIS, in Amsterdam (Netherlands and was mixed and mastered by Martin Ruch at Control Room Berlin (Germany). Design and artwork by Travassos.

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