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Phishbacher - Prove That!

Contributors: Written by Cathy Gruenfelder
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  • Artist(s):
  • Genre: Jazz
  • Personnel:
    Walter Fischbacher, keys; Thomas Siffling, trumpet; Evan Gregor, bass; Joel Rosenblatt, drums; Axel Fischbacher, guitar (track 5); Elisabeth Lohninger, vocals (track 5); Bernhard Ullrich, tenor sax (track 2, 8); Christian Howes, violin, cello (track 4); Christopher Marion, violin (track 4)
  • Tracks:
    Decisions; Loopish; Cats; Mellow Moon Moaning; Will You Still Be Mine; Prove That; I Want You; Straight, No Chaser; Rabbitz in Space

Prove That! is Walter Fischbacher’s seventh release as a leader, and it is full of a diverse array of wonderful moments. The New York based keyboardist and producer moved here from Austria in 1994, although he has continued to tour Europe ever since.

 This album takes us from Acid-Jazz to modern odd-meter stuff to fusion, to the unidentifiable. Phish goes back and forth from acoustic piano to all sorts of synthesized sounds, all in good taste, and never sounding cheesy. Along with six originals, he completely re-defines the Beatles’ “I Want You,” and Thelonious Monk’s “Straight, No Chaser.” A ninth tune is contributed by singer Elisabeth Lohninger entitled “Will You Still Be Mine.”

 The album begins with a medium tempo groove oriented number entitled “Decisions.” Phish records layers of different keys sounds, and the melody sounds as if it’s in an odd meter, although the groove is in 4/4. His acoustic piano playing sits behind the beat in a very funky way.
 “Loopish” is a more straight ahead Latin blues style tune. German trumpeter Thomas Siffling takes an intense solo. “Cats” is a medium/slow tempo number that features gorgeous playing throughout. Phish again moves through an array of keyboard sounds, creating various moods within the song.

 “Mellow Moon Moaning” begins with a gorgeous but melancholy arpeggiated chord progression that Siffling plays over beautifully. The piece develops in quite an epic fashion with the help of violins and cello.
 Lohninger’s piece “Will You Be Mine” stands alone on the record, in terms of style. It has a sort of pop-rock drum beat, some tasty lines from Phish, and an ‘easy listening’ melody and lyric combination from Lohninger.

 Phishbacher’s playing has a lot of similarity to Brad Mehldau in his rhythmic approach and sense of phrasing. This is apparent on the title track “Prove That!” which features many cool twists and turns over the funky beat and interesting set of changes. Phishbacher goes from acoustic piano to his synth and Siffling puts some wah on his trumpet.

 “Rabbitz in Space” is pure acid jazz with its ‘drum & bass’ style beat and reverb drenched vocal loops where the title of the tune is repeated at various points. Nevertheless, as with all the songs, Phish offers some intense improvisations.
Prove That!
is the work of a very diverse and multi-faceted composer and musician. Some tracks can serve as dance music, some for relaxation, and others for serious straight-ahead listening.
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