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   Yakou Tribe: Road Works: Release Information

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Release Date: 25.04.2001
EAN/UPC: 705304995624
TT Catalogue No: 4453

Bands like Slow Poke or Sex Mob from (faraway) New York have shown us that it is possible to achieve a new communicative intensity without having to re-invent jazz. We've had to wait a long time for the urbane steppes of Germany to produce similar phenomena, but now, finally, the time has come. Berlin's 4-piece band Yakou Tribe has devoted itself to a new interpretation of jazz that does justice to the tradition's achievements from Louis Armstrong to Bill Frisell, but doesn't let itself be overtaken by the Rock'n'Roll experience, Blues or other forms of contemporary expression.

We hear a blues. This blues is powerful and sultry. A ballad that gains ease and richness at the same time, that stretches out in all directions. The blues sings a song of life that all listeners can adapt their own associations to. It leaves everything open, jumps off the tracks, goes into itself and beyond itself. It's big city blues and at the same time an island that affords peace from the infectious hectic of daily life. This blues pervades the whole album with all of its different shades, smells, moods and timbres. Tracks with a stimulating fleetingness that spreads into the soul like a series of short road movies. Like the bands mentioned above, Yakou Tribe have found the secret of telling melancholy stories with humour, elegance, fire and curiosity. Feelings which would normally be in the way because of their contrasting nature become mutually dependent and produce creative tension. Should one have to describe the Tribes'music with a defining term (God help us), it would have to be vibrant melancholy.

Yakou Tribe is the sum of four exceptional musical personalities. All four were born in the sixties, grew up with Led Zeppelin and the Rolling Stones and, one year after the turn of the millenium, have been through every conceivable artistic metamorphosis. Kai Brueckner is one of the most innovative and expressive guitarists on the young Berlin scene. In New York he was schooled by teachers like John Abercrombie and Mike Stern, who left an audible influence in his playing. He recorded several albums with Jerry Granelli's band UFB and toured with them through the USA and Canada. Saxophonist Jan von Klewitz worked, among others, in groups under the direction of Albert Mangelsdorff and Alexander von Schlippenbach, in ensembles with Bill Elgart, Michael Godard and Steve Argüelles as well as with the great crossover jazz band Tacabanda. Bass player Johannes Gunkel first studied piano and violin before converting to double-bass. He took part in workshops with Dave Liebman and played with Matthias Rüegg, Jim Black and John Taylor. And filigree groove specialist, Rainer Winch, played with Michael Schiefel, Siggi Busch, Marc Levine, Kirk Nurock, and Felix Wahnschaffe, and performed on Paul Brody's CD "Tango Joy".

Yakou Tribe doesn't just stand for four perpetrators of conviction, it is a confluence of manifold musical interpretations into a vast river that pours itself anew into a delta of highly different passions. The quartett is by no means an avant-garde band, the constant search for avant-garde motives has anyway long since exhausted itself. Yakou Tribe combines all the virtues that once made jazz the hippest music on the planet, and may very well do so again. Here, sophisticated musical expertise joins concentration on the essential, a distinctive group feeling under which any ego trip unconditionally subordinates itself, the joy of romancing, and a fine sense of humour.

"I remember meeting Kai, as a student, who came to my N.Y City apartment many years ago.It was so long ago, that i can't remember the year (not so unusual for middle age guitar players!) I do remember, that he was very young,and could'nt play much, and was basically starting out. Well that's all changed now. Not only is he an inventive, and musical player, but a thoughtful composer as well. Six of the thirteen songs on the cd are written by him, and they have a wonderful soulful blusey feel. His good use of the dobro adds to this a great deal.
Saxophonist Jan von Klewitz's compositions are in contrast to Kai's, from western grooves, to the free Ornetteish feel of Haiku. Johannes Gunkel's 1/8 th note ballad, Serafina, is a lovely way to close this cd.
Lot's of space, and listening from all. What impresses most, is the band sound.They really do play together, and nobody is in a hurry. But you should be; to get into this music, and enjoy it as much as i have."
John Abercrombie. Somewhere in New York. June 2001

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