Jonas Windscheid’s Paintbox: Alto

Cologne-based guitarist, student of Wolfgang Muthspiel, leads a quintet in music that eschews traditional AABA form and hints at synaesthesia

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An aptly named quintet, Paintbox offer here their second album, following the 2015 Ven. Theirs is a lucid, finely crafted music of diverse rhythmic vitality: compare the opening, piping and ostinato sprung figures of Wet Paint!, the medium-swing groove of Don’t Get Me Wrong and the nudging and vamping introduction to the concluding Five Pot Cooking.

There is also a considerable element of elegance to be enjoyed, of melodic clarity and both harmonic and dynamic nuance, seemingly set in service of an enticing, shape-shifting synaesthetic whole: sample Spellbinder. Picture this if you can, the musicians seem to be saying.

Guitarist and leader Windscheid has an attractive and (not overly) processed sound which, together with his harmonic literacy and capacity for lucid linear invention, holds one’s attention throughout. Currently based in Cologne, he studied for a master’s degree with Wolfgang Muthspiel but offers in his sleeve-note a series of insights into the music (all of which he composed) which draw as much on metaphor as musicological analysis – and are none the worse for that. He sums up his approach to composition thus: ”I rarely choose a structure that is committed to simplicity like AABA. Instead, our pieces often have several parts where overlays of harmonies meet crisp rhythms.”

Delivered by a closely attuned group, with Feigenwinter’s flowing, carefully weighted pianism beautifully underpinned by the fluid interaction of Künemann and Rehmann – check the bassist’s excellent pizzicato introduction to Made Of – the music is strong on atmosphere and texture, with some especially striking work from altoist Martin Casser. Hear him float and sing on the deeply reflective Away, where Windscheid also shines in a solo of measured potency. A consistently engaging release, the many delights of which become increasingly apparent on each listen.

Discography
Wet Paint!; Made Of; Plutonite; Away; Spellbinder; Don’t Get Me Wrong; Five Pot Cooking (50.47)
Windscheid (elg); Martin Casser (as); Hans Feigenwinter (p); Jakob Künemann (b); Oliver Rehmann (d). Cologne, November 2019.
Mons MR874641