Schenker has been around for some time on the Swiss scene. He’s also an information technology expert. This might tempt the unwary into thinking that the trumpeter is another soulless musical functionary, churning out precise changes without much in the way of soul or feeling.
Nothing could be further from the truth. Schenker is a precisionist, if there is such a word, and his adoption of a rhythm line from Don Ellis on 2232322 is an indication that he likes to analyse as well as blow. He also enjoys creating musical quiddities, as he does on Basel Bei Chur, which turns out to be anagram of Beirach Blues, and based on some of the bitonal ideas of Richie Beirach. It would take a pretty quick-eared listener to identify the structure, but the stacked triads are easily enough identifiable.
Median and Fulcrum also have something of the academic exercise about them, except that this group is so empathetically attuned, they make it all sound completely natural. Schenker’s more lyrical side comes out in the beautiful title track and on Katja, a ballad dedicated to his wife. Cheek fits the bill perfectly and realises Schenker’s belief that beautiful music is always made by partnerships rather than individuals.
I could have done with a little more elasticity from the rhythm section but they do their thing with utter confidence and ease. Schenker is perhaps better known for his work with the Zurich Jazz Orchestra, but he’s well worth hearing as a combo leader.
Basel Bei Chur; 2232322; Times Of Innocence; Eye Factory; Median; Fulcrum; Katja; No Sertão; 2232322 (57.24)
Schenker (t); Chris Cheek (ts); Stefan Aeby (p); Dominique Girod (b) Elmar Frey (d). c. 2019.