Intakt CD 067
The Swiss drummer Lucas Niggli, who¹s not incorrectly compared with the New York drummer Joey Baron, has intensively tasted stylistic limitlessness: as pulsing drummer in jazz combos, as interpreter of contemporary compositions, on the side of Pierre Favre, Sylvie Courvoisier, Fred Frith, or in the Avant Hardcore-Trio «Steamboat Switzerland.» For two years, Lucas Niggli has led his own trio. The trombonist Nils Wogram and the guitarist Philipp Schaufelberger create, along with Niggli¹s percussive arsenal his bass mallets, drums, gongs and cymbals, among other a colourful group sound. The original compositions with quick changes, rock-like and swinging rhythms ensure contrast, drive and tension. With technical brilliance, with power and the joy of playing, the three soloists lead us into the adventurous world of current music.
The range of sound - pure, unadulterated sound - is so broad and grand that it is hard to imagine that there are only three instruments producing it. Lucas Niggli calls his trio 'Zoom,' and appropriately so. The percussionist's thirteen compositions favor revved up tempos and lots of variety. Trombonist Nils Wolgram is the sole horn, and this is this remarkable player's best recording to date. Wolgram straddles the line between the avant-garde and post-bop, in much the same way as German trombonist Albert Mangelsdorff, who is clearly a major influence on Wolgram, particularly with the multiphonics. Totally exposed with only Niggli and eclectic guitarist Phillip Schaufelberger with him, Wolgram dances up and down his horn, with incredible range, fluidity, and punch. Niggli keeps the juices going, with oddball meters, quick changes in direction, and plenty of melody sandwiched between radical rhythms. Interest never wanes, and Schaufelberger gives a alternatively funky and free-style lift throughout. Fun stuff that is curiously accessible, not easily pigeonholed, and eerily unique. (4 stars)
Loewy Steven A. Loewy, All Music Guide, USA, March 2001
Multi-talented Swiss drummer/percussionist Lucas Niggli extends his already vast repertoire with this tightly organized trio featuring trombonist Nils Wogram and guitarist Philipp Schaufelberger. With the opener, 'Oxygene Beats' the listener will be treated to sprightly Caribbean motifs interspersed with rapid fire, jazz-based unison choruses. Throughout, Niggli handles the percussion chores yet exhibits a thoroughly musical approach via his acute multihued tonal shading, propelling rhythms and feisty interaction with his band-mates.
The trio's often complex arrangements feature free-jazz type dialogue, rock rhythms, abstract thematic inventions and probing statements. On 'Poems & Theorems I: Brain Ballad', Schaufelberger and Wogram temper the oscillating flow with softly stated lyricism atop Niggli's delicate brush work. However, 'Light Night', features a series of expertly executed yet difficult to perform time signatures amid interludes of subtle nuance and highly charged exchanges. Essentially, there's a whole lot going on here, as the music seemingly emanates and converges from within diametrically opposed angles in concurrence with the band's imaginative excursions. Recommended!
Glenn Astarita, wwww.allaboutjazz.com