If you play the word association game with the word "Vienna" it is unlikely that "jazz" will be the first thought to pop into your mind. However this may well change after you listen to this exciting release by Flip Philipp. Vienna, with its rich cultural heritage, has a reputation for quality musicianship. That's what Philipp and his associates provide with "Bad Follows Good."
In classical circles Philipp is better known as Friedrich Philipp-Pesendorfer, the principal percussionist of the Vienna Symphony. He is a gifted jazz vibraphonist whose many influences include Monk, Trane, Ornette Coleman, Jeff"Tain" Watts and Tony Williams. The other members of his quintet also possess impressive musical backgrounds and have listened extensively to the American jazz masters - among them, Roy Haynes, Max Roach, Jimmy Garrison and Miles. The rhythm section cooks and Lorenz Raab on trumpet and Clemens Salesny on reeds are inspired soloists.
Philipp presents nine originals in this 2003 studio session. His basic language is bop yet the arrangements go beyond the simple shifting accents of bop to twists and turns in bar length and meter. Nevertheless his tunes remain accessible. The Monk influence (and what could be better than that!) is clear right up front as he introduces the bluesy title track. There's plenty of variety throughout. "Honolulu Lily" is a study in contrasts. "Soft Arm Chair" is frenetic with a flavor of New Orleans while there's a playful and funky air to "Women and Work." "Policeman" includes a strong Raab solo and an interesting sequence where Philipp plays a repeated theme under Christian Salftellner's drums. "Waiting for Nellie" is a beautiful ballad made even more so by a bass trumpet/bass clarinet blend inspired by Stravinsky. And then, if you wait a bit for a encore, you'll be rewarded by Philipp's version of "Giant Steps."
A long time ago Whitney Balliett aptly spoke of jazz as "the sound of surprise." You'll enjoy the surprising sounds of these superb Austrian musicians.