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   Yakou Tribe: Red and Blue Days: Release Information

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Release Date: 01.06.2004
EAN/UPC: 705304480922
TT Catalogue No: 4474

Long gone are the times when German jazz bands had to define themselves along the lines of their American idols. The Berlin quartet Yakou Tribe already set its own standards three years ago. Their songs equalled urban fantasies of movement and changing moods. A sinister (the Japanese word yakou describes, among other things, nightly travels and nocturnal shimmering) surmounting of daily lethargy, indulging in unheard of sounds, overheard straight from the pavements of Berlin.

Three years have passed since then. Yakou Tribe has neither moved on nor had to regenerate itself. With their new album "Red and Blue Days” they pick up where they left off with „Road Works" and still set completely new accents. The band’s sound is more relaxed, it can dwell in a creative style just as much as in directed movement.

The spherical restlessness of the first album is counter-pointed with phases of measured calm. The spirit of adventure joins pensiveness, floating in wide expanses of sound merges with the joy of completion. ”The most important difference is”, explains guitarist Kai Brückner, "that the sessions from the first album stretched out over years, while the new CD was made in one concentrated production. But we can fall back on a lot of common experience, we know each other better and can even out our differences to get to the point.”

The album begins with a contrast to itself, a wonderfully cool, calm, and soft version of the industrial classic "Hurt” by Nine Inch Nails, quite true to the original. In Yakou Tribe, different forces work with and against each other so that in every single song a complex field of suspense, shifting, and contrast emerges. Avant garde couples or mixes with traditional, urban with pastoral, rhythmical with melodic, smooth with rough, American with European.

This band is a friendly fight of force fields radiating from each individual musician; each stepping briefly into the limelight only to step back and make room for the next force field. "We spend a lot of time with each other apart from making music. But each one of us has pretty much his own ideas as to what really makes Yakou Tribe. We each have extremely different predilections. It’s not seldom that we get four completely different comments on a song just within the band”, says Kai Brückner. Saxophonist Jan von Klewitz adds: "Yakou Tribe is not so much the sum of the band members’ different tastes, it’s more of a joint product which emerges from all those different tastes overlapping.”

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".

The title of the album, "Red and Blue Days” goes back to one of Jerry Granelli’s ideas for a name for one of Kai Brückner’s songs. "It stands for the daily up and down between euphoria and frustration, fun and listlessness, dream and reality”, explains Brückner. In spite of the fact that Yakou Tribe’s second album is built more on the inner unity of the individual songs than their first, which was more oriented on the atmospheres running through the whole thing, Yakou Tribe does not shy from asymmetry, angles and edges.
Last but not least, the city of Berlin itself leaves its mark on the sound of the band. Brückner nails it down to "on the one hand, the hectic and restlessness of the big city itself that breaks through in the more urban passages,” but on the other "the longing for the country and wanting to get out of the chaos, that expresses itself in the more balladic and country-like songs.”

Klewitz sees the imbalance of the city without a center as exactly what the band picks up on in their mix of sound, which defies a definite style. "Berlin has a lot of space and freedom and offers challenges, we don’t have to stick to one particular sound here, shimmering diversity and wakeful openness provide room for creativity. Between swing and avant garde, country and rock you never feel closed in and always find new possibilities of expression.”

More compact than „Road Works", „Red and Blue Days" condenses the endless expanses and swings far beyond the radius of jazz in the musical thirst for adventure.


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