Over het album
Jazz rock – the term "fusion" has been preferred for quite some time – has a bad reputation that stems from the higher-fast-forward times of the genre in the seventies of the twentieth century. An honorary rescue is provided by the Driftwood Quartet, an ensemble from Switzerland founded by guitarist Joachim "Joa" Frey. The core of the band was the duo that he had with singer and bassist Jeanaine Oesch: "We played standards and pop songs". Then drummer Samir Böhringer attended a concert. "After that, he wanted to play with us," Frey said. "The three of us then put a live session on the internet during the corona pandemic and gave concerts. My first compositions were already included." Reinforced by alto saxophonist Marina Iten, the Driftwood Quartet then went into the studio to bring the bandleader's compositions to life. "I'm the only one who composers for this band," Frey humbly said lowering his head. "Marina, Jeanaine and Samir also compose, but for other bands and in other genres. But we work on my compositions together; the band is important for our music and our sound. For example, the first song on the album is based on a groove of our drummer, who suggested I make a piece out of it." Böhringer is also essential for the band, because he also came up with the idea of applying for the Jazz thing Next Generation series. "He also arranges our bookings," Frey explained. "You unfortunately learn very little about economic aspects during your studies, things that you have to pay attention to as a jazz musician. I was fortunate to learn these things through him, and he was like a coach for me." This professionalism, which has been increasingly observed among young musicians in recent years, is also reflected in the gender parity line-up, which actually happened by chance. "Women are still in the minority in the jazz scene," Frey sated. "There are many female singers, but few instrumentalists. However, I do not choose my musical partners by gender nor by how competent I consider them to be and how capable they are of playing my music. I mainly play with people whom I like and who give me the security of being able to develop freely. Our line-up came naturally and when I wanted to record my own music, and it was completely clear that I was going to do it with this formation." An accolade not only for Jeanaine Oesch and Marina Iten, but also for the highly vital Zurich scene from which the Driftwood Quartet comes. "Zurich is very lively and stimulating as well as very versatile," the guitarist stated enthusiastically . "There are jam sessions at the university and in the jazz club moods, which is probably the biggest scene in Switzerland. Zurich is also a very interesting place to live, and I wouldn't dream of moving away." Frey's highly individual compositions with their polyrhythmic structures are complex and ambitious, but always accessible and groovy. The seven songs that Frey wrote for "Litha" are well composed, but still give the band members plenty of room for improvisation. The textless vocals of Jeanaine Oesch seem like a fifth instrument that significantly expand the sound spectrum of the Zurich Gang of Four. The fact that many influences come together here – Böhringer still plays with Meta Zero and the Chronos Collective, Iten works with Christian Muthspiel and Nicole Johänntgen and Oesch maintains her own project with Jeanaine Jarret and is an important part of Debora Monfregola's band – is good for the music and makes it so refreshing, cosmopolitan and versatile in the best sense.