Wait A Second
One of the most distinctive guitar-vocal-duets of the European jazz scene, Magnolia present their second album.
Anne Hartkamp and Philipp van Endert – known for their communicative and playful virtuosity while nonchalantly suspending the traditional voice and guitar role allocations – play contemporary jazz, offering a high dose of improvisation, great intensity and unrestrained charisma, and producing a very unique statement.
Up to now, their duo was called „Magnolia & van Endert“, reverting to a stage name of Anne Hartkamp’s from her time as a member of Gunter Hampel’s “Next Generation”. Since, however, the better part of listeners and organizers tended to shorten that name to “Magnolia”, the two musicians have now decided to adopt this change: thus from now on, vocalist Anne Hartkamp’s and guitarist Philipp van Endert’s duo is called just “Magnolia”.
And also the music of the duo has evolved. Numerous joint concerts have made the two musicians’ interplay even more telepathic, even more intuitive and inspired. In some pieces, both of them now utilize effects and loops, providing them with additional musical colours as a further expansion of their sound palette – live on stage just as on the CD.
While the duo’s first album was exclusively dedicated to material written by their personal jazz heroes and heroines, Wait A Second focuses on original compositions. Combining eight originals with four compositions by contemporary jazz / respectively Brazilian musicians and treating the material in their own characteristic way, Magnolia have succeeded in creating a highly varied, yet amazingly coherent repertoire.
Quite a number of lyrics – written by the singer – have been incorporated, whose uncommon subjects and idiosyncratic perspective add yet another level to the compositions’ already rich scope of colours and facets.
Notwithstanding all these innovations in sound and choice of repertoire, their delight in playing, panache and vitality continue to be key features of Magnolia’s music.
Wait A Second: the title tune, a piece of music like the weightless sinking of tea leaves in the pot: breathing out. Calming down. Finding space.
Swirling: originally titled “Twisted”, this is not the Blues made famous by Annie Ross but a composition of trumpet player Dave Douglas from his album “Charms of the Night Sky” with added lyrics by Anne Hartkamp. Magnolia make it a tour de force, bubbling and effervescent. Distorted vocal riff, powerfully bizarre guitar solo, rollercoaster theme, virtuosic, way out vocal solo, another round of rollercoaster, and there you are, back on solid ground with shaky knees and sparkling eyes, asking for more…
Catching Butterflies: this revision of Anne Hartkamp’s tune “Quinten” – to be found, still lyric-less, on her quintet album “Momentum” – by means of the newly accrued lyrics discloses a completely independent perspective, supported by the duo format and the made-to-measure arrangement.
The gently breathing ballad, Not A Word, an atmoshperic reminiscence of Miles Davis’ “Blue in Green”, was composed by Anne Hartkamp years ago, but this is – with new lyrics – its first appearance on recording. The vocal solo with its wide arcs bringing to mind a flugelhorn’s sound and phrasing, as well as the duo setting’s intimacy contribute to the touching charm of this piece of music.
Doralice starts out with a vocal percussion loop on top of which an easy-going, unaffected vocal improvisation almost imperceptibly evolves into the theme. Philipp van Endert’s succinct guitar solo flows into the lightly and airily grooving song – an enchanting, light-hearted version of the Brazilian classic.
Moebious: Philipp van Endert’s tongue-in-cheek composition is put together much like a Moebius strip: spiraling, intertwined, redefining forms, it questions beginning and end, surprising with unexpected metrical turns.
Right With You, written by Anne Hartkamp especially for this duo, sparkles with positive vibrations: in both lyrics and music, a warm-hearted homage to love.
The soft melancholy of Carlos Coqueijo’s composition E preciso perdoar is delicately introduced by a three-part vocal chord: “it is necessary to forgive”, the title says, the lyric telling of painful learning from the loss of love. The duo engross themselves rhythmically, hypnotically, longingly in the depths of the song, opened up by the shared improvisation where voice and guitar circle, flee, haunt each other, yet finding their way back in the end.
Broken Things was written by Hartkamp and van Endert in collaboration. An extravagant, double-thematic Blues, somewhat Monk-ish, playful, angular, not taking itself all too seriously.
Also the title track of a Philipp van Endert trio album, Khilebor owes its name to a made-up word of van Endert’s then three year-old older daughter, who did not reveal its meaning (“laughter”) till much later. Sometimes you just need new words… and that also is the subject of the custom-tailored lyric. A typically beautiful, lyrical van Endert guitar solo, bright and warm atmosphere.
Cassandra Wilson’s composition You Belong To You, straightforwardly swinging, is a beautiful feature for Philipp van Endert’s excellent comping and Anne Hartkamp’s no-frills vocals.
Wild Sky lets Magnolia explore, with great sense of purpose, the possibilities offered by effects and loops. Over its four minute duration, the track develops an irresistible pull of almost hypnotic intensity, starting from van Enderts “Space Odyssey” guitar chords and culminating, in the very end, in the Japanese Haiku-like lyrics.