|Brooklyn-based, acclaimed vibraphonist Stefan Bauer’s ensemble Voyage West just returned from Germany and Canada celebrating with a number of concerts the release of their new CD on Dot Time Records.
Voyage West’s musicians represent an illustrious, communicative and international group (NY, Canada, Germany, Israel, South Korea) with decades of collective experience as jazz musicians and world travellers. “The goal,” says Bauer, “is to create music that draws the audience along with us as fellow explorers on a borderless journey – both sonically and culturally.”
Bauer belongs among the best vibists today. However, the accent here is clearly on ensemble-playing, exceptional musicians lending their voices to an unusual group-sound and intense solos alternating with composed passages. Voyage West’s program draws from such diverse sources as North American folk songs, elements inspired by travels to India and Africa, re-arranged versions of jazz standards and Bauer’s compositions about which the Rheinische Post/Germany writes:” . . . In his compositions there are romantic and impressionistic elements, enrichedby sharpness and formal awareness, and by magnificent sounds full of fantasy.”
The rich, rarely heard voice of Bauer’s 5-octave marimba is but one unique source of instrumental color; the actual voice of Tammy Scheffer – often the source of haunting, wordless melodies – is another. The press writes “Tammy Scheffer’s voice, cool and clear, adds sounds like tales from another world” and about saxophonist Chris Bacas that “he produced breath-taking solos”and “Again and again Chris Bacas enthused with his unorthodox saxophone statements.”
Mary Ann McSweeney’s propulsivebass and drummer Dayeon Seoks’s intense drummingtie it all together.
Please check out Voyage West’s web site: voyage.stefanbauer.net
And/or the following youtubevideos: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gfdj6NvXBEk&list=RDGMEMTmC-2iNKH_l8gQ1LHo9FeQVMgfdj6NvXBEk&index=0
Recent quotes (press and peers):
On the new album "Voyage West", which Bauer once again recorded with his quintet, the voice again is the core of a polyglot modern jazz. Fascinating how Chris Bacas picks the timbre of the young Israeli singer Tammy Scheffer up on the soprano saxophone, processes her often textless vocalises and develops them further while Bauer puts the polyphonic improvisations of the two into new thematic contexts.
"Folkore Imaginaire" in the truest sense of the word.
Martin Laurentius, Jazzthing/Germany
“ . . . the team gets deep and wild on an exotic stampede of Duke Ellington’s “Caravan.”
George W. Harris , Jazz Weekly/UK
The compositions are fascinating, the musicians are sensational and the whole production is beautiful. Each time I hear it I hear new things and get new surprises.
Don Thompson, Canadian jazz icon – (vibes and bass with George Shearing, piano and bass with John Handy, bass with Jim Hall a. m. o.)
The latest coup of this band: the album Voyage West features above all the Israeli singer Tammy Scheffer. Usually, this vocal artist acts as an equal "instrument" in the band, but she stands out on this new album in
particularly extensive bravura parts, while the band members roll out the
red carpet with heart and immensely flexible joy of playing.
Stefan Pieper, Jazzzeitung, Germany
Congratulations on a vibrant and moving album, it doesn't imitate anything else, it is your voice and killing!
royal hartigan, professor UMass Dartmouth (ret.), author of the acclaimed
“West African Rhythms for Drumset”
Dramatic eruptions again and again send shivers down the spines of the listeners in this almost cinematic-sonic imagery.
Westfälische Allgemeine Zeitung, Germany
The pieces and arrangements are gorgeous–displaying a deep creativity/imagination/skill, and artfulness, even as the music is accessible on different levels and differently in the different pieces.
Such good writing and playing and heart.
David Bindman/NY, saxophonist, composer
Hey folks, vibist Stefan Bauer's group Voyage West has released a new wonderful recording. The melodic orchestration (vibes/marimba, voice and saxophone) is both unique and beautiful. The music is forward thinking, but with strong roots. This group truly sounds like a band….Stefan also plays some burning solos. I encourage you to check out this wonderful music!
Rusty Burge, professor of Percussion Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music
There aren’t a huge number of vibraphonists in the contemporary jazz world, but without doubt Bauer belongs in the top rank of current players. The original compositions are complex while remaining accessible, and the cover tracks (like the standard Caravan) offer fresh views of the tunes.
Keith Black, Winnipeg Free Press, Canada
“I used to go out to jazz clubs in San Francisco, NY and Chicago for almost 40 years and just got fed-up with warmed-over post-bop. Just when I thought jazz was embalmed . . . I heard you!”
Listener Harry at the Jazz-Bistro, Toronto