There are few things you can count on in life - both Republicans and Democrats will raise our taxes, there will be large lightning and thunderstorms in the Midwest, and both Criss Cross and Fresh Sound New Talent record labels will release the best jazz by New York City’s youngest and hottest jazz talent. Add 30 year-old drummer/percussionist Klemens Marktl to the list of rising stars who makes his debut as a leader on the Fresh Sound New Talent label.
Joined by three of the ablest support musicians available in today’s New York scene - Chris Cheek on saxophones, the always immensely empathetic Aaron Goldberg on keyboards, and Matt Penman on bass - Marktl’s disc, Ocean Avenue, is a combination of modern fire mixed with a healthy respect for the hard-bop tradition. All of the compositions are by Marktl which creates some confusion because it’s hard to decide which side of his art - composer or performer - comes out ahead. Each of his musical sides is highly developed.
On "The Unexpected Happened," Marktl’s small motivicly driven melody plays into Goldberg’s sensibilities so seamlessly you almost don’t notice when the melody ends and the piano solo begins. Here, as on all of the CD’s tracks, Marktl’s support behind Goldberg is more than mere perceptive cognition, it borders on the scary. Marktl has an ability to sense where Goldberg is going to go before he gets there resulting in trap set work that not only reinforces, but prods and urges as well. The composition takes on a whole new feeling when Cheek’s soprano sax takes over. Fire and ice at the same time become strange yet beautiful bedfellows as a different side of the composition’s harmonic language is explored.
This one example aptly explains what you’ll find on every track. From the hard-bop rousers of "Anthratx" and "Last Hope" to the dreamy ballad "4:15 AM," Marktl creates canvasses of stirring emotion and introspective loveliness throughout the disc. You really can’t lose when you pick up a disc from this label, and Marktl’s is another excellent reason why.