John Hollenbeck - drums
Alban Darche - saxophones
Sébastien Boisseau - doublebass
Samuel Blaser - trombone
JASS as in John, Alban, Samuel, Sébastien. Or as in jass, a centuries-old card game for four players, also called chibre, that is popular to this day in Switzerland and in the Austrian region of Voralberg. Or also as in jass, the term used by the Original Dixieland Jass Band lead by Nick La Rocca in March 1917 for the very first jazz- album recording.
Thus Jass can be viewed as a semantic connection of little importance or simply an amusing etymological coincidence.
One might also suppose that some perceptive intuition, chance encounters and unplanned events such as Alban Darche’s admiration for John Hollenbeck’s Claudia Quintet and his fortuitious meeting with their drummer, the development of a real bond between Samuel Blaser and Sebastien Boisseau or the playfulness shared by the four protagonists have guided them to reveal an aesthetic glee generated by a music both modern and deeply rooted in jazz history. A music that is eminently collective, that is expertly composed but yet its natural flow allows the meaning to emerge as much in the silences as in the musical motif wrought from listening to each other’s ideas and feelings.
A first concert in Berlin in July 2011 and later, an artist's residency in Nantes in January 2012 (where the current album was recorded ) were sufficient for these four highly demanding musicians to create, in such a natural fashion, a striking sequence of original themes whilst maintaining the group performance at its heart, whilst keeping in check demands of organisation and balance in order to allow free-flowing elements of interference, of effervescence, of intoxication and yet avoiding being side-tracked on an excess or effusiveness. As compact and well-constructed as it appears, this music cannot be easily encapsulated by one single interpretation. It invites the listener to create one’s own impression derived from the different alternatives suggested by it’s framework and networked connections which suggest that at any moment anything is possible.
The precise attention given to the form of each piece and the constant concern for a clear structure are a fertile basis for the melodic voice and the many micro-narratives which intertwine consistently on a palette of incandescent chromatics.
“... this pianoless quartet is amazing...” Les Dernières nouvelles du Jazz - Jean-Marc Gelin
“...music that breathes, intelligent, free, freed " Les Dernières nouvelles du Jazz - Sophie Chambon
“He was already up, a few days after the celebration of the new year, as one of the key 2014 (...) Necessary, therefore, and how ... "!” Franpi Barriaux - Sunship
“Highly impressive debut that calls for following meetings of this quartet." All about Jazz.com - Eyal Hareuveni
“Highly recommended. " Burning Ambulance