Classical contrabassist Georg Breinschmid one day decided that this jazz stuff sounded pretty damn good and gave up the enviable position of rotating between several prestigious grand orchestras to start playing with Charlie Mariano, Archie Shepp, Birelli Lagrene, Wolfgang Muthspiel, and a number of others. That was 1999, and he hasn't looked back since. Nor has he needed to, actually, winning prize after prize while rising ever higher in the Euro scene. Considering that Fire is just as much about old country folk as jazz, polka, musette, and a dozen other styles, it's not difficult to understand why the live portions of this 1-1/2 CD set (a 4-cut bonus disc accompanies the main gig) delighted the audiences so.
Breinschmid also possesses a broad sense of humor in the many inversions and spoofs he adds to the compositions, not to mention sung portions, to come up with a number of intriguing mixtures as likely to feature interludes where, as he puts it, Shostakovitch meets Spike Jones as well as "a variety of mistakes…[and] sloppy entries" that nonetheless come off very well, dragging the audience along for a crossfooted jig or jazz waltz. The configurations are strictly duo (Duo Gansch/Breinschmid) and trio (Brein's Cafe) but sound significantly larger due to the amazing virtuosities of all involved: the bassist himself, Frantisek Janoska (piano), Roman Janoska (caffeinated violin), and Thomas Gansch (trumpet). Catch both versions of Herbert Schnitzler, especially the bonus take, and you'll hear snatches of Art Bears and Zappa in with all the sonorous, drunken, and clattery Euro-bric-a-brac.
No less an authority than DownBeat magazine placed Breinschmid's 2011 CD among the year's best, and this one is unlikely to in any way disappoint those lofty arbiters again this year. Ya gotta, however, be able to let your hair down and swing in a boozily delighted ambiance because this ain't Miles nor Ornette nor Tomasz but the sort of thing that would've had Stephane and Django rapt and laughing their asses off simultaneously. Oh, and to hark back a moment to the bassist's old domain, even Bartok would've been lifting a beaker while snapping his fingers to the Gypsy refrains, pinching the derrieres of the barmaids until getting tossed out on his ear, wandering back to the hotel and muttering "Heh-heh-heh, that Breinschmid……!!!"
Edited by: David N. Pyles
Copyright 2012, Peterborough Folk Music Society.
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