JÜ – JÜ Meets Møster (2014)

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What happens when JÜ Meets Møster? Fury, foreboding and fireworks.

JÜ is a smoldering, thrash-jazz trio out of Budapest. Manned by Àdàm Mészáros (guitar), Ernö Hock (electric Bass) and Andràs Halmos (drums), the trio connects hardcore, metal, Gnawan, and other contemporary style to the jazz of John Coltrane. Norwegian saxophonist Kjetil Møster has independently made the same connections among all these genres that were supposed to be too dissimilar to be closely related, but he too recognized the facade. Halmos got to know Møster after attending one of his concerts, and that in turn led the sax player to Halmos’s band. Before long, the four were recording together under the sympathetic Rare Noise Records umbrella.

JÜ Meets Møster is the product of this Scandinavian-Eastern European encounter, to go on sale December 8. The songs were conceived by the JÜ band and along with Møster, took skeletal ideas and fleshed them out on the fly into fully formed performances of fervor, like Black Sabbath with jazz complexity.

The friendship Møster struck up with Halmos came from a shared philosophy, one that’s articulated in the sax/drums free improv intro of “Dear Johann.” Mészáros makes his presence known with a two chord rock riff, and then the full band lunges into a more fully articulated riff. Using Halmos’ wicked, galloping backbeat as a launching point, Møster reappears as a howling demon.

After a ghostly intro, “Bhajan” builds up to a taut bass ostinato. Mészáros solos urgently with licks like glass shards and Møster follows with a baritone sax dancing in the choppy beat. “KJÜ” is the one track that’s completely improv, consisting of Møster’s clarinet playing alongside the David Torn-like alien, ornery textures.

The fourteen-minute “One” is the big beast of a set that sports one musical monster after another. A sax that is virtually indistinguishable from guitar at times bathes in meditative, industrial soundscapes. Gradually, the chant settles into a slow doom metal groove, the backdrop for a five chord riff that gets more and more intense and culminating in a freaky crash landing.

Mixed by the prominent bassist/producer Bill Laswell and mastered by Michael Fossenkemper, JÜ Meets Møster is dirty, sure, but doesn’t sound messy. A meeting of the minds is good, but a meeting of some very wide open minds makes for way better results.

S. Victor Aaron

S. Victor Aaron

S. Victor Aaron is an SQL demon for a Fortune 100 company by day, music opinion-maker at night. His musings are strewn out across the interwebs on jazz.com, AllAboutJazz.com, a football discussion board and some inchoate customer reviews of records from the late 1990s on Amazon under a pseudonym that will never be revealed. E-mail him at svaaron@somethingelsereviews .com or follow him on Twitter at https://twitter.com/SVictorAaron
S. Victor Aaron
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