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Artmann, Christian: Uneasy Dreams

On his debut record, Uneasy Dreams, jazz flautist and composer Christian Artmann simultaneously pays tribute to his favorite genre predecessors and claims his spot alongside today's top-notch players. While it can sometimes be a bit too slow and similar, overall, it's a very colorful and fun record full of masterful musicianship and wonderful ideas.

On Uneasy Dreams, Artmann is joined by several well-respected musicians, including Jeff Hirshfield (drums), Johannes Weidenmueller (bass), Rubens Salles (piano), Elena McEntire (voice), and Luiz Claudio (percussion). Each member effectively maintains cohesion while juxtaposing countermelodies and alternating time signatures. Best of all, Artmann's flute consistently provides beautiful timbres as it meshes with its complementing instruments.

Opener "Foreboding" lives up to its title; sparse piano and flute accompany wailing vocals. It's subtly ghastly. Both "Next Steps" and "On a Sentimental Flute" pay homage to classic jazz compositions (Coltrane's "Giant Steps" and Ellington's "In a Sentimental Mood, respectively), and they definitely do justice to their inspirations. A frantic and intricate piece, "Bebe-Vale Da Ribeira" is the album's most interesting and varied track. There's a touch of Return to Forever and Frank Zappa in just about every note. "Kafka" is built around a hypnotic 5/4 piano repetition, and the other instruments build upon it expertly.

While much of Uneasy Dreams is exciting and diverse, some pieces feel a bit too boring. "Dark Slate Blue" and "Easy Dreams" never rise above a whimper, and several other tracks, such as "Uneasy Dreams" and "Pan(Ic)" strike an odd balance between the two musical poles. In one way, these tracks help make the LP more dynamic, but in another way, it's disappointing to not hear the musicians go all out on every track.

Uneasy Dreams will be a dream come true for jazz enthusiasts. For casual listeners, its quieter and simpler moments make it difficult to digest in one sitting. However, there are several standout tracks, and Artmann definitely proves to be a promising performer and composer. He has done the greats proud with this debut.

Track Listing
1. Foreboding
2. Next Steps
3. Kafka
4. Pan(ic)
5. Dark Slate Blue
6. Nymph
7. Bebę-Vale da Ribeira
8. Uneasy Dreams
9. On a Sentimental Flute
10. Steps Beyond
11. Ária de Opereta
12. Easy Dreams

Added: October 7th 2011
Reviewer: Jordan Blum
Related Link: Artist MySpace Page
Hits: 1575
Language: english

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