You’ve got to give Hans Fahling a lot of credit – it isn’t easy to run one jazz band, let alone one in each hemisphere. Perhaps it would be more proper to call this a CD by the Hans Fahling Quartets!
HAMBURG: Port of Call is a CD of eleven songs, each one inspired a Patrick Haskett painting (all eleven paintings are depicted in the liner notes). Four songs are performed by Hans’ “German” quartet and the remaining seven by the “American” group. Each song, much like any good painting, deserves to be heard over and over again. Every new “viewing” of a particular piece reveals more depth.
Hans is an accomplished guitarist but you are very much aware that this is a group effort. The principles of both quartets get a turn to shine. But it is their work as a band that lingers with you. The way that Hans’s guitar blends so effortlessly with either sax player (Ralph Reichert of the Berlin group and Aaron Birrell, his American counterpart) is mesmerizing. I especially liked the snappy, joyful interplay between Hans and Aaron in How Deep Are You as well as the hauntingly beautiful and seductive Golden Seven.
The rhythm sections (Andreas Heinze and Phil Sparks on bass, Wolfgang Roggenkamp and Steve Korn on drums) are flawless, whether in full swing mode (Savage Fair) or in moody contemplation (What Do You See?).
If you like jazz, then you owe it to yourself to make the acquaintance of both of the Hans Fahling Quartets. And if you’ve always thought about learning more about jazz, this a great CD with which to start your collection.