Witzel’s Venue – Perceptions
It was while randomly checking out newly released CDs at the listening stations in a city centre record store that I came across ‘Perceptions’, featuring the work of saxophonist Reiner Witzel. The tracks had something different about them, a few steps removed from mainstream jazz, with intriguing rhythms played on a variety of percussion instruments and rich harmonic textures.
The opening track on the album is appropriately titled The Way In, and begins with a haunting background vocal texture onto which other instruments are added one by one. From the outset it’s clear to the listener that this album is going to be something a little different.
Of the 11 tracks on the album it’s the third track, Jungle Rain, that I find myself drawn to the most. The track builds to rhythmic and melodic mayhem before this is thrust aside by one of the most infectious, yet simple, bass riffs I have ever heard. And it gets even better, with Witzel providing an improvised soprano saxophone solo, ever increasing in complexity and pitch.
The warm seductive voice of Avenda Khadijah Ali is used on some of the tracks, and saxophonist David Sanborn also makes an appearance.
I’ve found that much of the music I’ve heard at listening stations with instant appeal doesn’t have lasting appeal. However, this is certainly not the case with ‘Perceptions’, which still regularly finds its way into my CD player.
At the time of writing this 1998 album is available from sellers on Amazon UK.