Materna has been a prominent presence on the jazz scene in Germany for more than three decades, but he is not a familiar figure to me, so his work on this album was a welcome discovery.
After studying classical and jazz saxophone at the Cologne University of Music and Dance and the Folkwang University in Essen Materna graduated in 1992, but had already founded his first trio in 1988, then in 1989 formed a quartet which survived with an unchanging personnel for 20 years.
The Kiss was a project that Materna had had in mind for some while but it was only during the Covid-enforced isolation that he had time to really work on it and bring it to fruition by recruiting the new trio heard on this release.
Almost all the tunes have an attractive simplicity, an airiness and a wiry dancing quality, with Materna’s compositions well-served by Wulff’s lithe riffs and counter-melodies and Strauss’s crisp drumming, brimming with dextrous patterns, carrying the beat without pushing it or treading on it. The funky Oxygen 1 – and, to a lesser extent, its bustling companion piece, Oxygen 2 – has a tougher but still convivial feel, with a fine bass solo on 2.
Especially on alto Materna’s lissom melodic lines sometimes remind me a little of early Ornette Coleman or even, here and there, John Tchicai. He also has a pleasing tone on tenor, noticeable on the relatively laid-back Hymne.
The Kiss; Dancing-A; A-Blues; Wish You Were here; Hymne; Oxygen 1; Oxygen 2; 343; Place To Be (46.32)
Materna (ss, as, ts); Lisa Wulff (b, elb); Silvan Strauss (d). May 2020 except * (recorded 2019)