First Gig Never Happened (c) HansKlestorfer
First Gig Never Happened (c) Hans Klestorfer

On their debut album “Mingus without bass, Monk without hat” (Alessa Records) FIRST GIG NEVER HAPPENED present contemporary, modern interpretations of works by the two jazz grandmasters THELONIOUS MONK and CHARLES MINGUS. The convictions of these are upheld and the “true spirit” is preserved.

Albumcover "Mingus Without Bass, Monk Without Hat"
Albumcover “Mingus Without Bass, Monk Without Hat”

No hats and no bass. Instead, Rhodes, Hammond, Piano (Alexander Fitzthum), grooving and swinging drums (Judith Schwarz) and the melodic playing of alto saxophone and bass clarinet (Lisa Hofmaninger). With this original instrumentation, at least for Mingus tunes, the young trio manages to find lively arrangements for compositions of two greats of jazz history, capturing the soul of jazz with a successful mixture of tradition and not (purely) traditional playing.

„In my music, I’m trying to play the truth of what I am. The reason it’s difficult is because I’m changing all the time.“ (Charles Mingus)

Just as Mingus constantly changed, the interpretations of his compositions and those of Thelonious Monk on this album are exciting and always manage to be playful and acoustically exciting. The extremely tasteful playing of Judith Schwarz on the extended drums also plays a strong part in this. Grooving and swinging beats as well as melody phrasing are realized at the highest level of creativity and technicality. The abilities of Lisa Hofmaninger and Alexander Fitzthum, who also create melodic and rhythmic surprise effects through their musically demanding skills, are no less impressive. These are also skilfully implemented by the musicians in their own composition “Ambigous Monk”. The title composed by Alexander Fitzthum impresses in many ways and combines piano playing inspired by Monk and grooving drum beats, which are repeatedly broken up by the wonderful sounds of the bass clarinet in order to find each other again.

“Mingus without Bass, Monk without Hat” is one of THE new jazz albums from Austria. Not just an absolute recommendation, but also a warm invitation for everyone to join me and visit one of the next gigs.

by Alexander Kochman (translated by Dave Dempsey)

First Gig Never Happed live
02.10. Opus Jazz Club (BMC) Budapest (Ungarn)
20.10. Kulturverein ‘Die Bühne’, Purkersdorf (Doppelkonzert mit KMET)

First Gig Never Happened
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Alessa Records