Max Nagl / Otto Lechner / Bradley Jones - "Flamingos", hat hut

What is beauty? Can one define this word? Could a percussion-free trio such as this one produce "beautiful" music? I definitely think so. After the brilliant quartet project "Big Four" from a couple of years ago, Max Nagl returns to surprise us with “Flamingos", a record of stark and somber beauty. The choice of instrumentation is once again similar to that of "Big Four". Bassist Bradley Jones returns, along with saxophonist Max Nagl [of course!] together with accordionist Otto Lechner [whom I know absolutely nothing about]. It is Otto who is the real star of the proceedings. His accordion playing is both haunting, stark and adds an extra layer of sophistication to this trio. His take on two Charles Mingus compositions - "Weird Nightmare" and "Work Song / Haitian Fight Song" - is absolutely breath-taking. While he recalls the sense of the originals, in no way does he copy Mingus' work outright. [Which leads me to another point, why is the accordion such an underused instrument in the world of jazz? Are people afraid to approach it?] Nagl layers smooth saxophone lines on top of Jones' quiet bass picking. Unusual instrumentation it may be, but it's the uniqueness of it that makes it all the more thrilling. It all makes for one surprising record - one that gels, one that makes an impact on the listener's ears. I don't know what it is about the sound of Lechner's accordion that I love so much, but there is something indefinable that makes it sound so natural, so awe-inspiring in its simplicity. I am sure to return to "Flamingos" often, and my hope is that the trio record on a regular basis.

Tom Sekowski

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>> Max Nagl / Otto Lechner / Bradley Jones - Flamingos