Band- & CD-Review
The Austrian duo the Female Jazz Art is tearing down a wall that has afflicted the jazz scene for decades, namely the boys' club atmosphere that has excluded women from taking prominent roles in groups. Women are often relegated to merely singing and, should they play an instrument like a saxophone or a piano, they are usually on their own.
So the creative union of saxophonist Swantje Lampert and pianist Barbara Rektenwald should not be taken for granted.
But the quality of a record should not be based on gender politics. This question still has to be asked: How is it? Quite beautiful, actually.
The chemistry between Lampert and Rektenwald is mesmerizing. They complement one another like veteran players who have been jamming together all of their lives. There is an undeniable comfort level between them that allows each one to strut her stuff without trying to overshadow the other. In „Remember July,“ the nostalgic emotions reeled in by Rektenwald's piano is deepened by the rich soulfulness of Lampert's sax. On „Morning Dew,“ Rektenwald's piano issues pools of introspection that are further layered by the melancholic strains of Lampert's saxophone. There is almost a symphonic quality to the ebb and flow of their playing.
The title of the album describes the content with pinpoint accuracy. It’s certainly a collection of „Moods,“ from the childlike gaiety of „Dancing in the Snow“ (listen to how Rektenwald’s giddy keyboards leap from the speakers) to the mournful tones of „Farewell“. One of the record's biggest delights is „Hungarian Dance“, in which Lampert and Rektenwald engage in abrupt tempo changes that are as impressively executed as they are startling to listen to.
Hopefully, the Female Jazz Art will open a few minds to how creative women musicians can be in a closely-guarded male jazz world.