With a band name that some might consider a little more than a mouthful, the Helga Plankensteiner - Walter Civettini Quintet launches out of the starting gate with their debut release "Connections". The two afore mentioned leaders of the band are backed on the album by Michael Losch on keys, Beppe Pilotto on Bass, and Enrico Tommasini on Drums; but rather than coming off as a tight-knit Quin’, the guys (and girl) sometimes fall quite short of hitting the mark.
Beginning with the opening track, the album’s promise of a slick and skintight production immediately falls to the wayside as "JJJ" tries to introduce the craftsmanship of the group; the song is somewhat unreasonable, just ever-so-slightly off, and nearly sounding like a last-minute addition. Moving on, the same issue can be found with "False Alarm". This be-bop groove is rocking on the backbeat, but the two band leaders just don’t jive with the other. On another note, "Magic Mars", "Connections", and "Heini Traini" bounce along nicely and the faster tempo arrangements appear to be one of the band’s strengths. Songs like "Forgotten" and "Beppechan" take the slower route of traditional jazz, and there are some nice features to be heard here.
Although the solo performances are hot for the most part, the album’s issue seems to be with the overlying performance between Plankensteiner’s Sax and Civettini’s Horns; the timing just isn’t quite there and the pitch is sometimes just slightly off where it should be. Individually, these players are quality and appear to know their instruments; I would venture to say that this Quintet is a lot hotter live than the sounds coined here on this album.