Venus in Transit

COMPOSERS: Franz Koglmann
LABELS: Between the Lines
PERFORMER: Franz Koglmann (t), Chris Speed (ts, cl), Michael Rabinowitz (bn), David Fiuczynski (g), Mat Maneri (va), Peter Herbert (b), John Mettam (d), Wolfram Igor Derntl (v)


Koglmann might be the great auteur of European jazz. From his base in Vienna, he’s been building a body of exceptional work, all of it based around a lucid and penetrating analysis of how American jazz dialects can be introduced into European traditions.

His multinational ensembles and cross-media projects are now being documented via his own Between the Lines label, and this latest set is characteristically thick with new motions and sonorities.

The main number, ‘Venus in Transit’, is a piece of theatre music, made for a play where, at one point, the entire cast is dressed as Marilyn Monroe: he transforms ‘I Wanna Be Loved By You’ and ‘Some Like It Hot’ as part of the score, but it’s a fascinating, original assemblage.

No less gripping, though, are the three pieces inspired by modern architecture. Nobody in jazz is deploying horns like Koglmann: he gets juice and resonance out of the most improbable juxtapositions of sound, and makes it work within strict, particular structures.


Not that this is dry music: the trumpeter also has a beautifully arch sense of humour. Koglmann went to New York to cut this most European of scores, and used many of the best of the local players. A supremely elegant bridge between worlds. Richard Cook