From the opening track of their third album, simply called [EM] 3, it's clear that the trio of pianist Michael Wollny, bassist Eva Kruse, and drummer Eric Schaefer works as a musical unit and less as a combo of three individual musicians. Their brand of jazz is less based on the hard bop conventions of theme-improv-theme reprisal; it's more a combination of jazz improvisation and modern composition, and most of the time, there's no real separation between soloist and accompanist. Schaefer provides over half of the album's compositions, with Kruse and Wollny contributing another three songs each. The material ranges from the nervous "Nocturne" to the creepy "Monsters" with its intimidating rhythmic repetition, from the dissonant undercurrents of "Kiyoshi" to the aggressive but lively "Gravité." Oftentimes, the band sounds reserved, as if the musicians are being careful when entering unknown territory -- as on "Arsène Somnambule," where a sweet and melancholy moment develops slowly into a dramatic peak, followed by a quiet and peaceful finish. It's impressive and challenging listening, even though there is such a somber, serious, and often somewhat abstract quality to the music that it's difficult to really delve into it -- it seems as if the musicians were trying to keep the listener at a distance. With a little bit of patience, however, the music slowly opens up, and reveals an intelligent and noteworthy album.

This review was written for the All-Music Guide on June 30, 2008.
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Christian Genzel

Christian Genzel arbeitet als freier Autor und Filmschaffender. Sein erster Spielfilm DIE MUSE, ein Psychothriller mit Thomas Limpinsel und Henriette Müller, handelte von einem Schriftsteller, der eine junge Frau entführt, weil er sie als Inspiration für sein Buch braucht. Außerdem drehte Genzel mehrere Kurzfilme, darunter SCHLAFLOS, eine 40-minütige Liebeserklärung an die Musik mit Maximilian Simonischek und Stefan Murr. Derzeit entwickelt er seinen zweiten Spielfilm BROT UND SPIELE, eine Komödie mit Thomas Limpinsel, Götz Otto und Steffen Wink über alte Kindsköpfe und noch ältere Computerspiele.

Christian Genzel schreibt außerdem in den Bereichen Film, TV und Musik, unter anderem für GMX und den All-Music Guide. Außerdem hält er Vorträge zu Filmthemen und kuratierte 2014 an der Universität Salzburg eine Filmreihe zum Thema "Erster Weltkrieg".

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