She approaches her compositions with harmonic ideas, yet writes lyrical melodies and generates exciting rhythmic effects. Endemann likes to play with "people who that are willing to take musical risks and make fast decisions in their solos." That statement defines her own playing and describes the quartet that recorded "Black Box." Endemann, pianist Daniela Schaechter and bassist Marco Panascia originally performed together when they were at Berklee. Drummer Tony Moreno is an internationally-known percussionist with whom Katja studied at NYU. This is a strong group.
The five varied and accessible originals on this live CD serve as jumping-off points for creative exploration by Endemann and company. Moreno's adventurous solo on "Here is Everywhere" illustrates why Endemann was so happy to have him on the gig. Bassist Panascia gets a chance to shine on the evocative "Rainy Afternoon." The swinger, "Good Friends," builds excitement. "You Really Don't Remember" is edgy and time-shifting while "Too Hot to Breathe" is Latin-tinged. The group then does some wonderful things with a very simple little tune, The Doors' hit, "People Are Strange." Wayne Shorter's modal "Yes or No" wraps up the session and displays all the ingredients of Black Box: innovative solos by Endemann and Schaechter, spirited comping by Schaechter, and plenty of fire from Moreno and Panascia.
Intensity and lightness, unity and freedom. They're all there. A treat for your ears.