The album is inspired by philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche (Dr Kemmer has a PhD in philosophy), with Thus Spake Zarathustra a philosophical novel penned by Herr Nietzsche, containing ideas about the Übermensch, the death of God, the will to power, and eternal recurrence. Zoroaster, also known as Zarathustra, was an ancient Iranian prophet who founded what is now known as Zoroastrianism, but you all knew that.
Happily, you can leave all the thinkin’ to Dr Kemmer and just do the listenin’ and it’s a very pleasant jazz album, led by Kemmer’s piano but with some good work for Masaki Kai on bass and Matthias Gmelin on drums; he gets to drop an understated solo on Das Andere Tanzlied, which almost veers towards being upbeat.
Most songs are slow and thoughtful, Oh Mensch almost harking back to Kemmer’s training as a classical pianist. Oh Mensch brings Masaki Kai to the fore on bass, again very understated and thoughtful.
Blues Für Nietzsche is indeed bluesier and perhaps the standout, though it’s still slow. The drums on this are good, one moment complex the next almost sliding into the music, and there’s another bass solo. In among all the German titles is a cover of It Don’t A Mean A Thing, a couple of songs on from Blues Für Nietzsche but also slow and bluesy; there’s not much scope on the album for cutting loose.
The album ends with Das Grösste Schwergewicht, with Katharina Neudorfer joining the trio on spoken vocals, proving that German can sound sensual; we have no idea what she’s talking about and the title, Das Groesste Schwergewicht means The Largest Heavyweight, so not much clue there. Maybe it’s about Nietzsche. After the control and restraint of the rest of the album, the spoken German releases the tension by making it all sound more improvised.
A good late night album.
This is out on JazzFuel