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)
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.”
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.
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
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.
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.