Potsa Lotsa XL & Youjin Sung: Gaya

German-Korean collaboration employs Korean plucked zither in a repertoire suggesting on occasion a slightly tipsy marching band


The alto saxophonist Silke Eberhard, erstwhile leader of Potsa Lotsa, a band which in a previous recorded incarnation consisted of a wind quartet, now has a track record of coming at “the tradition” from acute and rewarding angles. The wind quartet released a double album of Eric Dolphy’s compositions back in 2010, the effect of which was to sever that musician’s connection with anything approaching the post-bop continuum, placing him compositionally at least in a very loose definition of modern chamber music.

Here the emphasis is different, and not merely in some facile west-meets-east way. Instead the cross-cultural pollination is more integrated, although on the opening Hana Sung’s gayageum work has at different points the effect of being at odds with and in keeping with the broadest notions of jazz as creative improvised music, as opposed to the go-to category for those eager to flaunt technical facility.

Dul is reflective, yet quietly rambunctious mainly because the music has about it the air of a slightly tipsy marching band. The resulting irreverence, if indeed it can be regarded as such, echoes the mood of Dolphy’s composition Straight Up And Down, as it was played on his Out To Lunch album, but there the comparison ends because this isn’t simply yet another rehash of the known.

In an album which (sadly) comes in under the half-hour mark about a third of the time is taken by Ned, in which the group gets momentarily down to some of the positive dialectics of free play and thus once again deftly sidesteps the ever increasing body of the obvious which contemporary jazz incorporates. On a compositional level, too, the impression is of thought being put into the music.

Hana; Dul; Sed; Ned; Daseot (29.22)
Nikolaus Neuser (t); Gerhard Gschlößl (tb); Silke Eberhard (as); Patrick Braun (ts, cl); Antonis Anissegos (p); Taiko Saito (vib); Johannes Fink (clo); Igor Spallati (b); Kay Lübke (d); Youjin Sung (gayageum). Traumton Studio, Berlin, May 2021.
Trouble In The East Records Tite-Rec 026