Manchester’s Band on the Wall was to host the eclectic modern jazz sounds of Michael Janisch’s Paradigm Shift on Thursday 10th December 2015, unforunately that has been cancelled due to personal circumstances. Hopefully the gig will be rearranged as the bass player and his band have been getting some strong reviews.
His recent double album was recorded live at the Pizza Express Jazz Club in London in May 2011 and features a quintet lead by Janisch on basses with Paul Booth – tenor saxophone, ﬂutes, bass clarinets, didgeridoo, percussion, hand claps, Jason Palmer – trumpet, Leonardo Genovese – piano, keys/synths, effects , and Colin Stranahan – drums. Alex Bonney is an occasional sixth member providing live & post production electronics and effects.
Disc One comprises the Paradigm Shift Suite a four part piece, topped and tailed with exploratory free jazz/electronic sounds and split by an ambient electronic interlude. The piece as a whole echoes to some degree Dave Holland’s turn of the century work on ECM with bass lead heads evolving into complex arrangements featuring interplay between the two horns, and detailed colour delivered through a range of sounds from Genovese’s keyboards. The 30 minute suite delivers a wide range of tones and compositional shifts. Booth is mesmerising throughout with the urgent runs on “Celestial Dictator” particularly standing out. Things get a little jazz-rock-funk with the manic third movement which splits into three parts morphing from Ratledge inspired organ runs to more contemplative flute/piano passages. The structure resembles mid period Weather Report in parts with busy keyboards played against slower horn passages. It then moves into an atmospheric freer piece with bowed bass, electronic layers and tinkling keyboards before returning to the riffy closing fourth movement. The first record closes with a busy electronically treated bass solo from Janisch.
Disc Two, subtitled “Mike’s Mosey” has seven compositions from various members of the band. After a very busy drums/electronics intro from Stranahan and Janisch, the band launch into a lively Genovese tune, which has a delightful section of interplay between Booth and Palmer before working their way through to a repetitive riff based close. Genovese references Joe Zawinul patches on the joyful “Mike’s Mosey” which has the complexity of a Steve Coleman piece with added hard bop gloss. A delightful duo between Janisch and Bonney acts a great bridge into Palmer’s “Crash” which highlights his abilities within the context of manic passages of bop interspersed with some more reflective moments. Genovese provides a sensitive solo piece as an opener to Booth’s sumptuous “Awakening” which closes the album. Each of the band members gets to shine on this varied mix of tunes.
With a four star review from Jazzwise Janisch has hit a creative peak with this release from his own Whirlwind Recordings label.