Sun April 7, 2019
50 years onstage!

Harry Sokal & Depart refire (A/CH/SK)

Harry Sokal: tenor, soprano saxophone
Heiri Kaenzig: bass
Martin Valihora: drums

Harry Sokal: Depart Refire CD review – the kind of dynamic jazz that creates converts (Intakt)
For anyone familiar with Swiss label Intakt's frequently cutting-edge output, this trio set by Austrian saxophonist Harry Sokal might seem indecently funky. But Sokal, who played in star American trumpeter Art Farmer's group for 20 years and is a key figure in the Vienna Art Orchestra, plays a very capricious kind of what he describes as "groove music" on the latest from his 30-year-old Depart trio. Seven of the 13 tight pieces here are by Sokal's longtime bassist, Heiri Känzig, and the prodding bass riff, in 5/8 time, and wah-wah-assisted sax of the opening Talking 58 is typical of the pair's direct-sounding but seductively knotty music. Chambers' Room sounds like bebop over a rocking jazz-funk riff, but played on a bowed acoustic bass. Funky Straight has a catchy, twisting melody against Martin Valihora's slamming drums. The folksy Erzherzog-Johann-Jodler, meanwhile, could almost be a Sonny Rollins feature – but one delivered in electronically generated sax chords. On the gently curling Peace on My Mind, Sokal shows what a subtle player of an unadorned acoustic ballad he can be. It's the kind of dynamic jazz set that creates converts. (John Fordham, The Guardian, London, 4 September 2014)